Heritage Hall Museum
By Bill Schiess
|Hidden on the east side of Dubois is the Heritage Hall Museum, one of the gems of Clark County.|
On the east side of Dubois, a small white church-looking building sits with closed doors, but the sign out front says “Heritage Hall Museum.” It is filled with memorabilia of by-gone days from area ranches, local citizens and local history writers and buffs.
“I have been here for over 15 years and every time I go there I find something new,” Donna Handy, one of the board members of the museum said. “With all the records we have there, a lot of research on family histories are done here.”
The museum is only open to the public between Memorial Day and Labor Day on Friday and Saturday from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. They will also open it at other times for groups or individuals if a call is made to one of the board members.
The building was built in 1905 as the St. James Episcopal Church becoming the first church built in Clark County. Later it became the Catholic Church. In 1969 it became a museum, but part of the building was kept as if it were still a church with the original organ still there and is operational.
“At times we have people come and play the old peddle organ and we have even had concerts there,” Handy said. “One of the most interesting things found when it became a museum were three priest robes that are now displayed there.”
Artifacts on many different groups can be found in this small museum. Indians, Mennonite, trappers, ranchers, and miners are all represented in the building. Harriet Winsper Shenton’s cabin was recently moved next to the former church and plans are to renovate it to be part of the museum.
One of the most important historical items is a book, “History of the Silver Sage,” about the history of Clark County written by Bonnie Stoddard. It along with albums of newspaper clippings from the early community are important for researchers.
“I’m surprised that groups do not come more frequently,” said Handy. “This is truly a gem of the area.”
Those wishing to visit the Heritage Hall Museum other than the posted times are encouraged to call Handy at (208) 374-5787 or Conni Owen at (208) 374-5560.