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This first ran in 2018 to show the importance of giving to the museum during the Tin Cup.

To see why funding for the Teton Valley Museum matters, it helps to think what would happen if there were no museum.

Without it there would not be three rooms dedicated to honoring the veterans from the valley who served their country, and no shared stories and artifacts about their service experiences.

Without the museum’s vast collection of personal and family histories and photographs there would be no collective archive of the pioneers who settled the valley, and no stories for their ancestors to learn about their community of experiences.

Without the museum there would be no place where children could sit in a desk like their grandparents did in pioneer schools or see the toys they played with. How else could they find out what life was like for their grandparents and great-grandparents who worked hard to make a life for those who came later.

Artifacts of the early years in the valley likely would remain stored in barns and basements, their histories not widely shared if there were no museum.

The Teton Valley Museum Foundation collects those veteran pictures and stories, those family and personal histories and photographs and the artifacts that help show everyone who steps through the museum doors how and why the valley was settled.

The museum operates solely through generous donations from people who love the valley and want to preserve that history, through grants and through donations of time from the volunteers who work there.

Though the museum has only been open for about 15 years, it took years of labors of love prior to that to keep a small artifact collection together, to gather photos and histories and to design and build the museum’s two buildings and exhibits.

That work was done by people who understood why it matters to preserve the history of a place its people. And it’s still begin done.

In past year the museum opened its Agricultural Exhibit building with exhibits explaining the role of agriculture. When pioneers first came to the valley, they all were involved in agriculture one way or another.

Their self-sufficiency helped them stay in the valley despite hard winters, short growing seasons and the need to travel long distances for supplies, medical care and even legal dealings. The new ag exhibits inside and outside the building show the tools they used. Putting it together took years. Just painting the mural on the walls took a couple of months.

Donations helped pay for the paint and other supplies needed to put the exhibits and signs together.

And in 2017, thanks to a big financial donation, the foundation was able to commission the moving of a cabin onto the museum grounds and help pay to have it renovated to serve as an exhibit of early pioneer living. Volunteers have gathered furnishings. And soon, with the help of a grant, a sidewalk will make the cabin accessible to everyone. When you walk into it, you step 100 years into the past.

Donations make that possible, and they and grants are the only things that do.

That’s why giving to the Tin Cup to benefit the museum matters.