This year’s calving season has brought us 6 babies so far. It was exciting to see them grow so quickly from frolicking little cinnamons to darker brown calves. Inside the museum, our small team worked hard to prepare the gallery spaces and store for the summer season.
Our Bison in Art 2019 exhibit opened on May 26th. On the evening of the 25th, we held an opening reception where we announced the winning pieces. The Grand Prize went to Rebeca Latham for Fence Patrol-American Bison. The 2nd place winner was Kortney Beth Wilson for Radiant Spirit. Minisa Robinson took 3rd place for A Moment of Rest. Two Honorable Mentions were given: one to Brad Bohl for Bison Portrait and one to Jennifer Matthews for Guardian of Grand Prismatic Spring. These and all of the other art pieces will be on exhibit through Labor Day. Don’t miss your chance to see some fabulous bison-themed art by local and national artists. Most of the pieces are also available for sale.
On June 12th, we held our 26th annual auction fundraiser, which raised about $60,000 for the museum. We would like to thank our generous sponsors and all who turned out to join us to make this event such a success! This year was a special one for us. We were able to recognize one of our founding board members for his years of dedication and vision. We presented Arnie Becker with our Founder’s Achievement Award. We are so grateful to Arnie and count ourselves lucky that he’s dedicated so many years to seeing our organization grow.
Most recently, we completed our Buffalo Hall of Fame exhibit and were able to welcome National Bison Association members to the museum during their summer conference, which was held in Bismarck on July 7-10. It was a great experience to host so many bison-lovers at the museum and we were thrilled to be a stop on the conference’s ranch tour.
Another recent highpoint for us was being listed in 24/7 Wall St.’s article “Best Museum in Every State” as the best museum in North Dakota. We were thrilled to see that our quest to evolve and grow is starting to pay off.
Part of our growth includes hiring new employees. We are particularly excited to welcome our newest team member and first ever museum Collections Manager, Rachel Johnson. Rachel is in charge of taking care of the museum’s artifacts, and developing exhibits and programs. Rachel is from Santa Fe, New Mexico, and has over 15 years of museum experience. You can learn more about what Rachel’s role at the museum in this newsletter.
The composition of the museum board has seen some changes as well. In February, the board appointed Dick Gehring to complete Dean Anderson’s term. Dick is an experienced bison rancher and currently serves as the board president for the National Bison Association. He has been a great resource to us so far and we look forward to working with him. Three board members were elected at our annual meeting this year. We welcome back Deb Backer who is serving her second term with us. We also welcome Wes Newton who comes back to us after some time off of the board. We also welcome Tom Reimann, who is serving his first term on our board. The board has a strategic planning retreat scheduled for September 28th. To prepare for strategic planning, we will be conducting some audience surveys as well as a staff focus group. We will share about the status of this process in our next newsletter.
In addition to our focus on the museum’s collection, exhibits, and programs, our museum store is also making some mission-focused changes. We now have a section of merchandise made from a variety of bison byproducts (hide, wool, dung, etc.). Being able to talk about these products with visitors helps us achieve our mission of educating the public about the American bison and its cultural and historical significance.
With all of the great things that are happening at the museum, it is unfortunate to have to report some sad news, the death of Dakota Miracle, 13-year-old white bull, who was the son of White Cloud.
Despite that loss, we continue to look forward to another busy season of welcoming guests into the museum and allowing them to discover the amazing world of the American bison. Hope to see many of you this summer!