Tammi Cooley (left), Administrative Assistant of the DakotaTerritory Buffalo Association with Ilana Xinos (right), Executive Director of the National Buffalo Museum at the 777 roundup in Hermosa, SD.
The National Buffalo Museum has wrapped up a great summer and fall is in full swing. Winter has even made its first appearance earlier than expected!
Visitation was on track with previous summers, but sales in our store were up by nearly 100%! As the summer came to a close, we hired Annie Oster as our new Museum Store Specialist. You can read an update on the store from her in the newsletter.
The bison herd remains healthy with a total of seven new calves. The animals are enjoying the apples which the Jamestown community so faithfully provides us. Staff and volunteers have been learning more about bison ranching from others in the bison industry. I recently took a trip to Hermosa, South Dakota, to help the 777 ranch with their annual roundup. It was a great time and I learned so much. We have also been developing partnerships with land managers with the goal of creating the healthiest pastures we can. Inside the museum, our small team worked hard all summer to serve visitors and keep the museum looking its best.
Our Bison in Art 2019 exhibit ran through the summer and generated a lot of interest among a new audience. We made great connections with artists through this exhibit, and sold a number of pieces to benefit the museum. Staff is working on the next exhibit – Roundup: a look into the contemporary bison industry. Look for more updates on that exhibit as it nears completion.
During Jamestown Buffalo Days in late July, we cleaned out our basement and got to visit with many of our neighbors when we hosted a rummage sale. Old furniture, discontinued gift shop merchandise and supplies which are no longer needed found great new homes, and we found more space in our basement. And we surely enjoyed seeing so many people out and about on a beautiful summer day.
Starting in July, the museum undertook the process of strategic planning. The first phase involved surveys of the Jamestown community and bison industry professionals. Thank you to all who participated. We had even more responses than we hoped, and the data is useful as the board works with Strengthen ND to craft a plan that will carry the museum into the next decade.
As the summer came to a close, I visited the Jamestown Rotary Club’s monthly meeting to talk about the museum’s mission and ways that Rotary members might become involved. It was awesome to hear local residents get excited about the museum.
The fall saw a great deal of travel for our staff. I visited Washington D.C. in September with members of the National Bison Association for the 2019 Legislative Roundup. The delegation met with elected representatives and agency officials to advocate for bison production and related issues.
In September, Collections Manager Rachel Johnson traveled first to Edgeley, ND for the Whitestone Hill historic site’s education day, and then to Fort Totten state historic site. At each site she presented an educational program about bison and plains ecology to elementary school students. Later in the month she attended the Mountain-Plains Museum Association conference, representing the National Buffalo Museum and exchanging ideas with museum colleagues.
Museum Store Specialist Annie Oster attended the regional conference for the Museum Store Association in Minneapolis earlier this month. She learned a great deal and had the opportunity to network with her new colleagues in the museum store field.
We are looking forward to our winter travels. In December, we will travel to the Western Bison Association’s 21st Annual Wild West Buffalo Stampede Show & Sale in Ogden, UT. We will set up a vendor booth from our museum store and help deliver a children’s program to over 100 local grade school kids. In January, we will head to Denver for the National Bison Association’s Winter Conference. Finally, in February, we’ll be on the road again – this time to Rapid City, SD, for the Dakota Territory Buffalo Association’s Winter Conference and Black Hills Buffalo Classic show and sale. At these events, we look forward to networking and providing museum updates to all of our friends in the bison industry.
As Christmas approaches, we’ve set up an Amazon Wish List for the museum. Your donation of much needed supplies to directly support the museum can be purchased by clicking the Amazon link below. Thank you for your kind, generous support!
Finally, I have a piece of great news to share. At our October board meeting, Jud Seaman was appointed to fill a recently vacated board position. Jud has been a member of the museum since 1998 and is a tireless advocate for the American bison. We welcome Jud and feel very lucky to have him on board.
Before you know it, it will be time for another board election. We will have 5 positions opening in 2020. If you have an interest in serving on our board, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org me so I can inform the Nominating Committee of your interest.
Until next time, friends!