Dubois Museum main building
The Dubois Museum Association is an unincorporated nonprofit association in the state of Wyoming, based in the town of Dubois in Fremont County.
Our purpose, as stated in the Bylaws adopted at our Annual Meeting on September 8, 2011, is “to seek to maintain the presence of the Dubois Museum in the Town of Dubois and provide program and financial support to and serve as advocates for the Dubois Museum” as well as focusing public attention on the Museum’s services, facilities, and needs.”
The DMA operates completely independently from the Museum’s administration, which is governed by Fremont County under the auspices of the Fremont County Museums Board and by its Director. With about 100 members, we are the most active support organization for any of the county’s Museums.
Our activities include:
- Sponsoring the annual Frontier Fest on Museum Day, a popular event that draws local residents and visitors from out of town to the Museum grounds each summer.
- Helping the Museum to purchase items that the county does not supply, such as electronic tablets to enhance exhibits and a camera to document acquisitions.
- Acquiring grant funding for projects the Museum wishes to undertake. As an independent nonprofit organization (rather than a County institution), the DMA can receive grant funding for which the Museum itself may not be eligible.
- Sponsoring educational programs for the community at the time of our Annual Meeting.
- Conducting live oral history interviews of individuals important to the history of the Dubois area.
- Supporting the publication of books important to local history.
- Helping the Museum to find volunteers for essential projects, such as rebuilding a damaged boardwalk.
Funds donated to the DMA via membership dues or direct donations are not given to or controlled by Fremont County, although DMA works closely with the Museum Director to assure that all expenditures are appropriate and to the general benefit of the Museum.
The DMA is governed by its Board of Directors, who meet monthly, as often as possible on the first Thursday of the month. Meetings are open to the public. The date, time, and location are announced in the Dubois Frontier, the events calendar of the Dubois Chamber of Commerce, and on the County 10 website.
Founded in 1976, the Dubois Museum Association (DMA) grew out of 3 years of efforts by the Dubois Lions Club to preserve the heritage of the Dubois community, supported by a US government grant and private donations keyed to the Bicentennial. The DMA’s original purpose was to direct the activities of the Dubois Museum, founded in the same month.
The DMA then saw its role as acquiring items for display and promoting activities to “present and interpret the history and culture of the area.” It began by restoring a log schoolhouse, preparing a shed for farm and ranch equipment, and building a life-size Native American display. Many of the Museum’s holdings trace to these efforts. The DMA also took charge of building and maintaining the Museum structures though concerted volunteer efforts, many of them involving hard manual labor.
When the Museum became part of the Fremont County museum system in 1979, and the Fremont County Museum Board assumed control of its operations, the Dubois Museum Association redefined itself as a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization distinct from the Museum, devoted to advising the Museum and providing volunteers. In 1980, it sponsored the first annual Museum Day, featuring pioneer arts and crafts. Later it brought oral historians to the Museum and sponsored films and self-guided tours. In 2004, the DMA revived the Swedish Smorgasbord, a local custom dating from the days of the tie hacks that had been launched as a community event by St. Thomas Episcopal Church.
In 2011, the DMA evolved again, revising its bylaws to describe the DMA’s purpose as providing program and financial support while serving as advocates for the Museum. With the combined challenge of planning a new Museum building and enthusiastic attention on the upper Wind River Valley from the worldwide archaeology community after the discovery of high-altitude prehistoric villages in the nearby mountains, the Dubois Museum Association is entering an exciting new era.