Summer Staycation 2015 Stop #1: Museum of the Fur Trade

Many cities and towns have museums, some of which, like the Natural History museum in Quetzaltenango, are bizarre. Below is a sentence from the 2006 Rough Guide to Guatemala, describing its contents:

Upstairs there are some modest Maya artefacts, historic photographs and a bizarre natural history room where, amongst the dusty displays of stuffed bats and pickled snakes, you can see the macabre remains of assorted freaks of nature, including a four-horned goat.

I have been there, and I’ve seen the pickled snakes and four-horned goat. No photos survived.

I’m glad to say that although I expected little of Chadron’s own Museum of the Fur Trade, three miles east of town, the collection is actually nice enough that I purchased the $20 membership when enticed with four issues of The Museum of the Fur Trade Quarterly. This month’s issue features a story on early upcycling and assorted book reviews!

I might not have been upsold if I hadn’t gone into the museum hoping for some intel on a nearby geocache before the actual visit that constituted my goal for the day. While the cashier who upsold me (whose name I didn’t catch) went to look for the director, a man in a sunken room who was punching keys on a laptop struck up a conversation with me about the place in question and encouraged me to drive instead of walk. The new museum director came and took me outside and pointed me to the location of the cache mentioned in this post, which I’d already found. I went back in, told the gentleman in the sunken room, “She’s no help,” and promptly logged the find based on his advice.

He’s the editor of The Museum of the Fur Trade Quarterly. I met all of the fur trade bigwigs of Chadron in my first fifteen minutes in the building!

Anyway, the museum has a ten-minute introductory film narrated by…you guessed it, the same guy. Each area of the museum is dedicated to a different aspect of the fur trade. Everything is well-displayed, as evidenced by this photo of the fashionable attire of the average fur-trading Frenchman.

fur trade


The display continues outside, where you can visit a restored and furnished trading post, a hand cart, and a robe press.


And cows.

I don’t think the cows were part of the exhibits. They seem to be restrained on the other side of a fence from the museum property, but there were cows very nearby.


Later in the season, the Museum garden will be blooming with actual historical plants from seed varieties preserved from the days of the fur trade, prior to the turn of the 20th century.

There is also a festival in July.

I’m sure I’ll report on both of those events, but there are miles to go before then.


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