Keeping Things Hot in the Dead of Winter

by Erick Tichonuk

If I had a dollar for every person who says to me, “So, with the museum closed for the winter it must be pretty slow down there,” our economic worries would be fewer.  I need to correct their assumption, because in many ways it’s more hectic.  The winter is spent planning for the next season.  How do we tackle marketing?  What are our special events going to be like?  What are this year’s courses and workshops?  Where’s Lois McClure going this year?  And perhaps most important, how are we going to pay for all the programming?  After a winter’s worth of planning, the “open” season is implementing everything you’ve put in motion – something we’re getting better at every year, but never take for granted.

Warren Rinehart working on a piece
Warren Rinehart working on a piece (photo: Tom Larsen)

Another thing we tackle in winter is facilities repairs and improvements.  Some of our infrastructure hit its twenty-fifth year and it’s starting to show.  Maintenance is becoming more important and regular.  We’re really fortunate to have some great friends that empower us to keep things going.  One of our best friends is Warren Rinehart.  Warren befriended the museum a number of years ago.  As an avid blacksmith he was looking for a place to set up shop.  He made us an offer we couldn’t refuse; let him build his shop on our site and we could have half the building for our student courses and workshops.  The Rinehart Blacksmithing Arts Center became a reality in 2008 and LCMM now boasts one of the premier blacksmithing facilities in the region.

Erick Tichonuk hanging plywood on the ceiling
Erick Tichonuk hanging plywood on the ceiling of the blacksmith shop (photo: Tom Larsen)

As great as the building is now, there are a few finishing touches for the interior of the student side of the shop; an estimated $8,000 worth of work remains.  This past fall Warren once again empowered us to make improvements by gifting half of the money. Already this winter we’ve finished much of the interior, but more work is on the docket and we’d like your help to match Warren’s gift.  All the new excitement and enthusiasm for blacksmithing at LCMM has prompted us to add a page to our web site to provide updates on activities surrounding the shop.  Check it out and help us keep the momentum of Warren’s initiative by striking while the iron is hot!  Make a donation today.

Erick Tichonuk
Deputy Director, LCMM