Museum News & Happenings 6/12/2020

Posted: June 15, 2020

      • Farmhouse Theater Object Theater
        Last October, our Farmhouse Theater equipment gave up the ghost. The consultant who set up the theater (way back in 1997) put in a Herculean effort to get it running again, but it was not to be. The equipment was simply beyond repair.

        We knew this day would come. For a little over a year we have been quietly writing grant proposals to raise the $125,000 needed to replace theater equipment and develop a new show.  The current production, our beloved This Day, uses slides and runs on discontinued software, which means we can't simply start playing This Day on new digital equipment. We either need need to digitize and reprogram This Day, which has a higher price tag than you would think, or develop a new show. 

        We're going for a new show -- Music of the North, a production that explores music in everyday life. This project will provide a deeper, more inclusive history of local music and our regional heritage. Happily, the Eau Claire Area School District and a few significant funders are very supportive of this project.

        We've raised $90,000 for this project, thanks to:
        • * Community Foundation of the Fox Valley, David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund: $50,000
        • * Wisconsin Humanities Council (WHC): $10,000
        • * RCU Foundation: $30,000
      • This is enough to get the project launched and equipment replaced. To complete the project by next year,  we will have to raise an additional $35,000.  

        Member and community support are critical at this time. Memberships and donations for operations (and soon, admissions) give us the space to seek out special gifts that can go towards the Farmhouse Theater. Without going into the ins and outs of the museum's budget, project funds cannot be used for operations. Operational funds cannot be diverted to projects. The Chippewa Valley Museum needs to keep raising funds for operations while also raising money for this project. If you'd like to make a gift specifically for the Farmhouse Theater, please contact me or Rachel Meyer (r.meyer@cvmuseum.), the museum's Development Manager. 

        Blast from the Past
        Go here to watch snippets of This Day. I recorded parts of This Day on my phone during its final days. It's not a pretty video, or even complete, but it does stir the memories.


        You can also watch a short video about the the Object Theater. We made this video for our "What's Inside Wednesday" series. 
        Juneteenth, June 19
        Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, a day when African-American slaves in Texas were told by Union forces they were free. They were the final group of slaves to realize their freedom, a full two months after the American Civil War ended.

        Former slaves in Texas began celebrating June 19th -- Juneteenth -- in 1866. Celebrations gradually spread throughout the South and came north as African-Americans migrated north in the mid-20th century, really taking root during the 1960s.

        There has been a public Juneteenth celebration in Eau Claire since 2001. This year, it will be a virtual event, focused on the unfinished work of the Civil War and connecting that history to the present. The day's schedule is still in development. Go to the Eau Claire Juneteenth Facebook page for updated information, and watch the news. 

        Photo from last year's Juneteenth Celebration in Carson Park, courtesy of Uniting Bridges. 

        What to Know about Reopening
        We're still on track for a June 17 reopening. Please, please, check our website or call next week because things may change.

        We will be opening in phases to help everybody adjust and adapt to the new museum experience. Our full plan and cleaning information will be posted on our website by Monday, June 15. Here are the highlights of Phase 1.

    • New hours: Tuesday, 5-8; Wednesday-Sunday, 12-5. Closed Mondays and during the day Tuesday. Closed Saturday, July 4
    • * Guests asked to wash hands or use hand sanitizer (provided) at entry
    • * Face coverings required for guests and staff **
    • * Ice Cream Parlor and Museum Store closed (online store still open though!)
    • * Limited capacity: 9 per group, no more than 50 in the building at one time
    • * One-way traffic through exhibits
    • * Hands-on activities removed
    • * High-touch surfaces cleaned every 30-60 minutes and at end of day
    • * Meeting rooms still closed
    • * Paid staff at front desk only, no volunteers

We expect this phase to last 2-4 weeks. Some parts of this plan will continue into Phases 2-3. We will be inviting front line and behind-the-scenes volunteers back in Phase 2 after staff is comfortable with the changes to new procedures.

** About face coverings -- masks. The CDC and Eau Claire City-County Health Department strongly recommend face coverings. Science shows that face masks help prevent spread of COVID-19. As a visitor destination, the Chippewa Valley Museum expects travelers from outside the region, some from far outside the region. We want the Chippewa Valley Museum to be a safe place for everybody, and we will follow best practices to ensure that safety. The Chippewa Valley Museum is going to fall on the side of science and that means face coverings. 

This and That

The museum's Ayres Associates gallery is now home to a "This and That" exhibit. That's a museum-y way of saying the gallery has a collection of little displays, all unrelated to each other. It's eclectic. From June 17 - August 15 you will be able to see:

      • * Picture of Health 2.0 -- a look at epidemics, nurses, and hospitals in the Chippewa Valley. See a real iron lung!
      • * Election equipment and suffrage display
      • * Chair display. The Chippewa Valley Museum has 93 chairs in its collection. Stop in and see a few of them.

The Sandy Lake Tragedy of 1850 Virtual Program:
June 23, 6:30
Minnesota historian and author Colin Mustful will discuss his historical novel, Resisting Removal: The Sandy Lake Tragedy of 1850 live on June 23, 6:30 - 7:00 using Zoom Meeting

You can purchase Resisting Removal directly from Mustfal's online shop: He will donate 50% of the sales price to Chippewa Valley Museum. Please indicate that you wish a donation be made to CVM in the "Note to Seller" field during checkout.

Turn in the Diaries and TP Cozies
Dear Diary – Please send your diaries to with donor's name, age and email. Each submission will need to complete a collection donation form either in person when CVM opens or via email. Visit our website to learn more.
TP Cozy - If you would like your TP cover on display, please drop it off at CVM between June 17th and June 30th. Chippewa Valley Museum will create a display of submitted fiber toilet paper covers made during the #SaferAtHome order.  There will be a drawing for a prize winner AND a limited selection will be able to be sold via our online store if desired.

Virtual Fourth of July
We will be using Zoom Meeting, Facebook Live, and YouTube for our Virtual Fourth of July. We will also likely be sending video out through Facebook and Instagram throughout the day on the Fourth of July.

The schedule as it currently stands:
12:00 Mayor Barron's 4th of July proclamation, 1918, read by City Manager Dale Peters
12:30 1875 4th of July speech, performed by Richard Kraemer

1:00 DIY 4th of July Face painting demo by Lily Schwartz of Lily’s Craft Corner

2:00 Fourth of Julys Past slideshow, with music from the 1976 Memorial High School music department

3:00 Cakewalk – live. Winners receive gift cards to local bakeries. Details on how to enter will be sent next week.

4:00 Lumberjack Music, performed by Scott Dyar, sponsored by Wisconsin Logging Museum and recorded in the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp bunkhouse

July 1 – July 6: Finding the Fourth Scavenger Hunt
Chippewa Valley Museum provides the locations, map, and history. You answer questions and have lots of fun discovering how and where people celebrated the Fourth of July in years past. There will also be prizes for completing the scavenger hunt. Complete details about the scavenger hunt will be provided next week.

This event is supported by sponsors Royal Credit Union, Charter Bank, Northwestern Bank, Visit Eau Claire, and by Chippewa Valley Museum members. If you'd like to help make this happen, please make a donation at or mail a donation to Chippewa Valley Museum, PO 1204, Eau Claire, WI  54702. 
That's it. You've read the entire letter. As always, hang in there, 


Chippewa Valley Museum Director

P.S. Ramone's Ice Cream Parlor began offering curbside pickup toward the end of Wisconsin's Safer at Home order. I placed an order the very first week it was available. Share your pandemic/quarantine experiences with the Chippewa Valley COVID-19 Archive.  
Back to all news

Send this blog post to someone: