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Chapman: Vote ‘yes’ on Measure 1

By Staff | Jun 6, 2014

Voting ‘Yes’ on Measure One is an investment in the education of your children, grandchildren and subsequent generations.

For all the worries of the younger generations having no reverence for prairie past, there should be equal clamoring for support of the institutions that foster respect and appreciation of our rich history as Americans, Dakotans and Pierce County’s not-so-far removed founders. Prairie Village Museum is that institution for our county.

Voting ‘Yes’ on Measure One is a vote of support for the hundreds of people – many no longer with us – who gifted or loaned precious mementos so that history would not be lost.

Many people donate to museums with the dream that their additions will bring understanding, discussion, memories and joy to countless visitors.

Voting ‘Yes’ on Measure One is a vote of support for the current children in our community; youth like Alaric Skjelver and Kordell Kraft.

Alaric helped bring the former law office of Asmundur Benson back to life during Museum Comes Alive Day on June 1. The youngster entertained the crowds with his spiffy suit – approved by Benson’s grandson Swain – and an introduced himself as a pint-sized version of the Bottineau law family’s patriarch.

Kordell also dressed up and played the role of a stoic deputy to Kenny Blessum’s sheriff at the old York Jail. Kordell listened intently as Blessum discussed the history and influential names of the area with a visitor and museum enthusiast from Arizona. That man, without prompting, joined in the fun and dressed as Pancho Villa.

The excitement wasn’t limited to the children. Ron Torgerson, one of about 20 volunteers in costume, proudly told the history of his home place and the once thriving town of Silva. Without hesitation, Torgerson rattled off the name of every homeowner and business in the model of Silva at its peak. He recounted tales of his school years as he gave tours of the Silva School and beamed as he showed his initials, etched into a desk long ago.

Pat Bye, Friends of the Museum president, dressed in a pristine white outfit and brought to life the creamery in the village. Rosie Armstrong wore a fancy purple dress and invited visitors into the dress shop. The Museum Comes Alive Day, an unofficial opening of museum season, was Bye’s brainchild.

“Having grade school kids to senior citizens is great,” Bye said. “You’re encompassing all the age groups. If we can draw people from out of town to our community, it’s a great thing.”

Visitors came from Arizona, Las Vegas, Boston and around North Dakota. But it was the fellowship of our own community members that drove home the importance of the museum and preserving our area’s past.

We can’t wait for the museum to be in dire need like so many places that came before. A ‘Yes’ vote on Tuesday for Measure One is not only sensible, but a necessity for us, those who came before us and those yet to come.

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