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Keeping the pioneer dream alive

Dedicated volunteers keep the Clack Museum going

Shawn Airey drives one of the Clack Museum cars (a 1924 Model 490 Coupe) in the Rivers Agricultural Fair Parade accompanied by Kate-Leigh Heapy. 

Clack Museum located in the RM of Oakview (formerly known as Blanshard Municipality) is kept open by a volunteer board.

Tim Clack, who was born October 30, 1918, started the museum with his brother Doug, and Tim kept the museum running until his death in 2014.

In 2006 Tim wrote his memoirs and with the help of his niece had them published. He tells how life changed in 1948 when hydro first came in and his hydro bill was $12. He bought his first tractor for $1,086 in 1952. Bread was 10 cents a loaf then, milk 43 cents a quart, his driver’s licence $1.50. A bushel of oats sold for 43 cents, barley was 74 cents and diesel fuel was 21 cents a gallon. A highlight for Tim was showing the Grand Champion Hereford Female at the Royal Winter Fair in 1958.

Doug started making miniature equipment to display in the museum, starting with a push saw and then a Boss harrow. When he was making a fanning mill his eyesight started to fail and Tim took over the project. Numerous miniature pieces of machinery were made for the museum including a binder which took him two years, and a threshing outfit which runs, that took him a year to complete.

In 1981 the Clack brothers hired Gooden Industries to put up the first museum building, and in 1983 they opened it to the public.

The next building they built is a display of things you’d find in a Victorian home. Doug and Tim attended numerous auctions to find pieces for the museum over the years, and people have donated objects in order to preserve them.

Another building tells the history of the railway and another is a child’s museum. They also built a halfway house to remember where their dad got his first meal when he arrived in Canada, complete with an old barber’s chair, a Mountie in dress uniform, plus the history of an old post office.

Vintage cars can be found in a building such as a 1919 Model T Ford truck, a Model A Ford car, and a 1924 Model 490 Coupe.

In 1989 the Clacks donated a quarter section to Manitoba Wildlife Federation Habitat Foundation to preserve wildlife and its habitat.

Every August the museum board holds an Open House Fundraiser where you can take part in an old-fashioned log-sawing contest, or enjoy eating fresh homemade pie and ice cream while visiting with other history buffs.

The museum, located between Oak River and Rivers, Manitoba, is open during the summer, manned by students and volunteers. The dream of Tim and Doug Clack lives on because of dedicated volunteers.

Diane Kuculyn (l), and Wendi Burt take part in the log-sawing contest at Clack Museum open house in 2017 under the watchful eye of Brian Burt. photo: Joan Airey

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