The Clarke Historical Museum — which is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history of Humboldt County — is in need of repairs for damage created recently by man and by nature.
The nonprofit is hoping that the community, ever supportive of the museum, will lend a helping hand.
“It is crucial to acknowledge that the Clarke is extraordinarily fortunate to reside in a county that supports its local nonprofits,” said Clarke Historical Museum Executive Director Josh Buck. “We are extremely grateful for the past support that we have received and hope that individuals, families and businesses will consider supporting us with this undertaking.”
In November 2022, Clarke staffers arrived for work one morning only to discover that one of the large windows in the front of the historic building at 240 E St. in Eureka had been vandalized.
“We were shocked that someone would do this, and disappointed that this was yet another high cost the museum would have to bear in a year when support is needed more than ever,” said Buck.
He added, “Unfortunately, we are not the only entity to suffer damage in our area, and our hearts go out to those who have lost significantly more during this time.”
The cost for window replacement and related repairs is estimated at $3,850. So far, just over $1,000 has been raised toward that work, he said, which will be done by McKinleyville Glass.
People can assist in several ways, including sending a check to the Clarke Historical Museum to 240 E St., Eureka, CA 95501 or donating online at https://www.clarkemuseum.org/donations.html. All donations are tax-deductible.
In addition to donating funds, there are other ways community members can help the museum, Buck said.
“Individuals can spread the word about our fundraising efforts to friends and family or consider becoming a museum member,” he said. “Membership will not only help with this project and the many others we have (had) to tackle this last year, but it will also provide regular access to our collections and special events.”
The building housing the Clarke Museum was designed by renowned San Francisco architect Albert Pissis and was constructed in 1911-1912. In 1960, Eureka High School history teacher Cecile Clarke (1885-1979) purchased the structure to house her ever-growing local history collection, which up until then was displayed at the school. Nealis Hall, the museum’s Native American annex, was added in 1979.
Though the 6.4-magnitude earthquake on Dec. 20 seems to have caused only minimal damage to the museum building, Buck says the Clarke is still waiting on inspectors from the city of Eureka to make a final assessment.
“Old wounds from past quakes have been made worse, especially outside the building,” he noted. “Miraculously, the damage to the window was not made worse by the earthquake.”
Last week, Clarke Museum staffers also found out that there is a termite infestation in the Emmerson Room (aka Victorian Room) that will cost approximately $7,200.
“This is yet another unexpected expense that needs to be tackled to keep the collection safe,” Buck said.
The Clarke Historical Museum is currently closed and will re-open Feb. 4.
“The museum is normally closed for January to rotate in new exhibits and prepare for the many events we have in store for our supporters,” Buck said.
“We are preparing many new exhibits for the public, including a main hall exhibit on the Christmas flood of 1964, a new mini-exhibit in the Victorian Room and several new exhibits in Nealis Hall,” he said. “Nealis Hall will have three new major exhibits. The topics are fishing rights, birthing traditions and pre-1900 baskets from the Hover Collection.”
Two events are being planned for the museum’s re-opening day next month. On Feb. 4 at 2:30 p.m., Julie Clark will present the history of Falk as part of the museum’s Saturday Speaker Series.
“Falk was a company mill and lumber town that once thrived in what is now Headwaters Forest Reserve,” Buck said. “This speakers series is now a collaborative effort between the Humboldt County Historical Society, the Humboldt County Library and the Clarke. Later that evening, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the Clarke will be open for Arts Alive! Admission is free for both events. We look forward to seeing you there.”
For more information about the Clarke Historical Museum, go to www.clarkemuseum.org or call 707-443-1947.