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Fundraiser: Benefit dinner keeps museums open

by Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News

In the true mission of helping preserve the county’s deep history, community members and visitors are invited to enjoy a dinner event to help keep Grand County’s museum doors open.

The Grand County Historical Association, patrons of the cause, announce the group’s 32nd Annual dinner and auction scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Schlessman Commons at Snow Mountain Ranch, YMCA of the Rockies. The members’ annual meeting will also take place Saturday,, but the meeting, dinner and presentations are open to everyone.

The GCHA was restructured from the original member-restrictive Pioneer Society group in 1974 by Reggie and Robert Black III, so anyone could join. The two applied for a Centennial Bicentennial Grant from the Colorado Historical Society and a matching $100,000 grant was awarded to the Association. The grant was used to renovate the school house acquired by a land trade which can now be seen at the Pioneer Village Museum in Hot Sulphur Springs.

The school house, which now serves as the GCHA’s office, has many priceless artifacts. Daisy Jenny started the initial artifact collection process and since then many items have been donated by pioneer families in Grand County.

Over the years, the GCHA has also acquired the Cozen’s Ranch House and Stage Stop in Fraser, the McElory Barn and adjoining property in Kremmling, and many other historic buildings located at the Pioneer Village grounds and Kremmling Heritage Park complex for public educational enjoyment.

“Museums are nice to have, especially in a county with such a rich history” said Karen Wischnack, GCHA manager. “They are a necessity for enrichment of education.”

In 2007, the group has been facing the possibility that future generations may not get the chance to see the historical and priceless artifacts, manuscripts, photos, research materials and buildings.

“Museums are a vital educational tool and in preserving the history of Grand County,” Wischnack said. “In order to do this, not only finances but staff, volunteers, and board members are a must. A handful of workers can not successfully make it happen. The association was built around volunteer help and in today’s busy Grand County life, dedicated volunteers are hard to find. Successful events (like this dinner coming up) are needed to keep the doors open because grant money is becoming harder for museums to get since health and childcare are mostly needed and well deserved.

“We are just trying so hard to get more people to come to our events ” the more the merrier.”

This year’s presentation is “Honoring Grand County’s Past and Future Fire Fighters.” Fire fighters from all five of the county’s fire departments will be in attendance, to be honored and to offer guest speakers.

Proceeds benefit the Grand County Historical Association and the local Grand County Museums, including Pioneer Village, Cozen’s Ranch Museum, and Heritage Park Museum in Kremmling. Call now for early-bird tickets for the dinner ($30 or $35 at the door).

Auction items include: Raffle tickets are available for two bonus items, a hand-peeled log rocker donated by Steve Palm with Wild Wood Rockers and an original painting by artist Pem Dunn. Tickets are $5 each or a packet of five tickets for $15. They may be purchased at the Pioneer Village Museum in Hot Sulphur Springs, the Cozen’s Museum in Fraser, or by calling (970) 725-3939. The raffle will take place at the annual dinner, but patrons need not be present to win.


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