At 12:00 pm, June 17, I unlocked the Chippewa Valley Museum's front door and the museum opened to the public. (Here's a short 30 second video in case you missed the big event). Little did we know when we locked the front doors at 5:00 pm on Saturday, March 14 that we wouldn't be opening again for 3 months. Things to Know About Before You Visit
To find our complete reopening plan and health and safety procedures, go to our COVID-19 Response webpage.
- • New hours: Tuesday, 5-8 (free admission); 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 **
- • Limited capacity: 9 per group, no more than 50 in the building at one time
- • One-way traffic through exhibits
- • High-touch surfaces cleaned every 30-60 minutes and at end of day
- • Hand sanitizer located throughout building
- • Ice Cream Parlor, Museum Store, Sunnyview School, History Quest exhibit, and Anderson Log House closed (online store still open). Some spaces, like the calf pen, have been closed until we have more people on hand to help clean and sanitize.
- • Meeting rooms still closed
First Virtual Teen Guide Training a Success Chippewa Valley Museum's Teen Guide program has usually focused on preparing teens to work with the public. As volunteers, they have staffed the front desk, managed the ice cream parlor, interpreted the Log House, helped with summer children's classes. Things are quite a bit different this year. Five teens are pursuing their Teen Guides Certificates this summer, and for the first time ever their service experience will center upon engagement with the museum and its resources through online tools. A few of this year's new Teen Guides have also elected to support visitor services at the museum's front desk during the second half of the summer. As public health restrictions are eased, both our new and certified Teen Guides will support the museum through serving in the ice cream parlor and supporting in-person programs. Through committed participation in the Teen Guides program, teens gain valuable communication skills and grow their connection to, and knowledge about, regional history. To find out more about this program, visit our Teen Guide web page search #CVMTeenGuides on the museum's Facebook and Instagram posts. If you have a teen that is looking for something to do, like maybe volunteering, contact Angela Allred at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-834-7871
(As far as that goes, if you have some free time during the day or on weekends, we could really use visitor services help beginning in mid-July. Contact Angela about that, too.)
A Civil Rights Era collection, on loan from North High School educator Mike Perri, has been added to the This and That mini displays. In addition to this collection, you can see:
A Little More This and That
- Picture of Health 2.0 -- epidemics and local healthcare;
- Right to Vote display. Marbles, punch cards, levers, optical scanners -- there have been lots of ways to vote over the years.
- Chair display. A bench made from burl oak. A furniture set with human faces and lions heads. Some comfortable and not-so-comfortable pieces of furniture.
- And soon -- Toilet Paper Cozies! Eighteen came in yesterday. If you have a TP cover you made during quarantine, bring it in and enter it into the contest.
Virtual Book Talk: Tuesday, 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: https://colin-mustful.square.site/. 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.
Exhibit scene in Chippewa Valley Museum's Changing Currents exhibit that discusses the Sandy Lake Tragedy and Chief Buffalo. Photo by Olaf Lind.
Virtual 4th of July
Start your Fourth of July festivities by participating in our Finding the 4th Scavenger Hunt, sponsored by Royal Credit Union and promoted by Visit Eau Claire. Links to the scavenger hunt guide, questions, and map will be released at 5:30 pm, July 1 on our 4th of July webpage and social media. The first team to complete the hunt and quiz wins a $100 Rump's Butcher Shoppe gift certificate. Those who submit a completed scavenger hunt quiz by July 6 will be entered to win one of three 4th of July baskets with gift certificates from local businesses.
Irene Halbleib, Queen of the American Legion, and others getting ready for the 4th of July parade, 1924
Along with the Scavenger Hunt, we will be offering several experiences online from historic speechers to do-it-yourself face painting demo.
12:00 Mayor Barron's 4th of July proclamation, 1918, read by Eau Claire City Council President Terry Weld, with remarks to follow
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. All members automatically entered. Non-members may enter with a donation or membership purchase.
4:00 Lumberjack Music, performed by Scott Dyar, sponsored by Wisconsin Logging Museum and recorded in the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp bunkhouse Visit our 4th of July webpage for updates.
Personal Reflection this Juneteenth
Studying history is humbling. I am forever learning new things about the past, and am often surprised, and sometimes embarrassed, about what I don't know. Case in point, I didn't know Juneteenth was an important celebration until about 15 years ago. I first heard about the 1920 Duluth lynchings of three black men accused of assault only ten years ago. Thousands watched. Nobody was ever prosecuted for the murders.
I lived in Milwaukee for four years in the early 1990s, completely unaware that discriminatory housing practices had made the city so racially segregated. It took until 2012 and a Civil Rights summer institute before I became aware of Father Groppi and March on Milwaukee.
Above is a restriction put into a Woodland Home Agreement preventing sale to Blacks. Woodland Homes was a 1920s development on Eau Claire's East Side Hill.
I don't know how extensively restrictive covenants were used to prevent African Americans from living in Eau Claire neighborhoods or even the city. I do know this history has not been explored by Chippewa Valley Museum and I'd like to know more.
This is all to say -- keep learning, keep listening. Use Juneteenth as a springboard to learn more about African American history and the history of race in America. Smithsonian Magazine posted a piece with links to articles, podcasts, and websites about these histories. At the bottom of this email is a short video slideshow that visually looks at the unfinished legacy of Reconstruction, the period immediately after the Civil War.
If you have history the Chippewa Valley Museum should know about or preserve, contact us. Part of the museum's mission is to collect, preserve, and share the region's historic and cultural resources. You can help us do that.
Thank you for sharing the last three months with me (and tolerating my personal reflections). The journey to recovery is far from over. The museum is open, but the pandemic is still with us and the economy is a mess. Effects from the pandemic will be rippling through here for a long time. For now, I choose to revel in the fact that the museum is open and that you, and so many others, believe in the value of this museum.
Chippewa Valley Museum Director
P.S. As a heads-up, weekly emails may slow down to twice a month after the Fourth of July. Plans may change, for the weekly emails have become part of my weekly routine. I hope they're part of yours, too.
P.P.S. I never found that superhero cape with special powers that I wished for back in March. I did find a feather cape -- wings, really -- I made for a 4H play a few years ago. Here's to reopening -- me and my cape.