April 18, 2014 |

Activities and crafts at Hands on History

Story by John Paul Schmidt

Eric Seidle
Bettie Grace Holcombe, 3, left, makes a pine cone bird feeder with MSU-Northern Student Education Association President and volunteer Kelly Johns at the Hands On History event held Saturday at the Holiday Village Mall.

Photos by Eric Seidle

Hands On History celebrated its 10-year anniversary Saturday with a record amount of support and attendees.

This is the largest event of the year for the H. Earl Clack museum foundation. Their top three are Hands On History, the Shot in the Dark Golf Tournament and the Christmas celebration. But, Hands On History brings the biggest number of the community members together to create a special event for children and adults alike and give them a chance to learn or create something new.

This year, there were 34 different activities for kids to participate in and 20 of them were free of charge due to sponsorship. Each event that required tickets cost just around $2 to $3.

Allison Keeley is one of the main organizers of the event and the secretary for the museum foundation. She said Saturday that Hands On History was a great time for a small amount of money.

"For $20, kids can come and do anything," Keeley said.

Sponsors of the events are given free tickets, and they usually donate them back to families who have more trouble covering the cost of the event, Keeley said.

Keeley said the table that had the highest number of paying participants was the baby chickens and wool demonstration table. The table had 262 kids playing with the young chickens, ducks and lambs.

Other activities included candle-making, typewriting, making dolls out of clothes-pins, making bird-feeders out of pine cones, leatherworking, bracelet-making and many others.

Keeley said she felt this year was a great success.

"We felt like it had very good attendance," Keeley said Wednesday.

It was cold Saturday, and the horses had to be taken away. Keeley said the temperature probably impacted their headcount, but it was still a better year for Hands On History.

Keeley said the final amount of money raised by the event for the museum would not be pinned down until Monday, but she thinks it raised probably the same amount as last year's Hands On History; around $10,000.

"It's quite a fundraiser ... ," said Kelly Brandon, one of the organizers of the event. "Quite a neat deal."

The entertainment of the day also brought the attention of the children in attendance. Powwow dancers invited kids up to round dance with them to traditional Native American music. An Irish band complete with a bagpipe and fiddle and a kitchen band from Chinook played music for those taking part in event.

Around 60 to 70 members of the community came out to volunteer for the event, Keeley said. There were also 40 to 60 Montana State University-Northern students volunteering under the supervision of Lanny Wilke.

"We have a really strong support from Northern, and this is very supported by the community," Keeley said.

Ashlee Gordon is a Northern student who was volunteering at the event.

"A lot of us take classes with (Wilke)," Gordon said. " ... It's a good way to get students involved."

The funds raised from Hands On History goes to the H. Earl Clack Memorial Museum's foundation.

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