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Mid America Buckskinners Info Page


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Missouri Iowa Nebraska Kansas
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No, it's not skinning bucks............ Developed and maintained by JP Finn


The following was posted by Arlon Sibert on the Muzzle Loading Mailing List. He was contacted, and passed the information on in the finest traditions of the Men of the Mountains.
The Museum of the Fur Trade is one of the best known, least visited, sources of reliable information on the Americian western Fur Trade.




Page 1


To Friends and Members of the Museum of the Fur Trade:

It is with much sorrow I must report that on April 1, 1997 James Hanson, in collusion with William Hanson, locked me and my wife Marie out of the Museum and have denied us any access to the project I started 43 years ago.

Over the years beginning with nothing, the Museum under my guidance has grown to be world famous in the history of the fur trade. It has taken a lot of my time and money, as well as a lot of hard work. To have this taken from me at this time is a cruel blow. This is made even worse as the two conspirators are two of my sons.

The tourist traffic on Highway 20 declines each year, and because of the continued lack of local support, I began looking at possible relocation sites.
After reading traffic studies, Interstate 80 seemed ideal. Some land on the access road was fround across from Cabela's, but James Hanson violently objected to this. In the end I made the purchase out of my own savings. This did not satisfy James, and he got the Board of Directors to be very much aginst it. This surprising as the Board up to this time had done nothing at all for 20 years. Somehow James was able to gain their support, finally taking control.

Among the many reasons for moving, the building is in need of major repair.
It's not insulated, has no heat, inadequate air conditioning and a well and septic system 40 years old and nearing failure. Two independent consultants agreed that $300,000 was needed to fix the problems. A new building at the Sidney site could be built for this amount.

The traffic volume would allow the Museum to remain open year round instead of only during the summer. This would probably attract 100,000 admissions as compared to the 6,000 in 1996 at the present location.

At the meeting of February 22, 1997, the Board agreed to give me one year to raise fund to build the new building. Evidently this displeased James, leading to the April 1st takeover.

Now I am appealing to you for help. The only way to stop- them is to fight them in court, and I have only limited resources at my command. With your donations I can save the Museum from these pirates and give it a future.

If you can help, please send contributions to the following:

Charles E. Hanson, Jr. Legal Fund
c/o Friends of the Fur Trade
P.O. Box 695
Chadron, Nebraska 69337

With your support we can save the Museum for future generations.

Sincerely,
Signed
Charles E. Hanson, Jr.



Page 2


MUSEUM BACKGROUND

In 1954 Charles and Marie Hanson purchased one and a half acres East of Chadron, Nebraska. Here they began a 42 year journey with culminated in the building of a world renowned museum.

Though the original building was small, the collection grew under Charles' guidance. The Museum opened in 1955. In 1956 the Bordeaux Trading Post was opened to the public. The Gun Room was funded within ten years and opened in 1964. In 1965 the first newsletter, The Museum Quarterly was published and membership grew. In 1969 Charles retired but remained on the Board of Directors. In 1975 a new wing was constructed that nearly doubled the exhibit area. Later a library was added to house Charles' growing collection of research books. The Museum continued to expand and an office was built to handle the ever growing membership. In 1989 another exhibit hall was added that housed blankets and clothing.

Throughout all this growth, income often times fell short of the expenses. Many times Charles and Marie funded the project out of their own pocket. Assistance from the Town of Chadron has been termed "token".

A few years ago in the face of declining tourist traffic on Highway 20, consideration was given to moving the museum to a new location. Several sites were considered. Sidney, Nebraska was chosen. The land was purchased by Charles with his own funds near Cabela's which is the number two tourist attraction in Nebraska.

For unknown reasons, Jim and Bill Hanson, Charles second and third sons, became adamant that Charles should no longer serve on the Board of Directors for the very Museum he created. Through every method available, they succeeded in February, 1997 in having Charles removed. Charles Hanson who is the foremost authority and author of many books on the fur trade in now barred from even entering his own creation, The Museum of the Fur Trade.



Page 3


To the Friends and Members of the Museum of the Fur Trade:

You may not know this, but the Museum is under a hostile take over by the Board of Directors. Charles Hanson did NOT retire. He was forced out. (See attached letter from Charles)

Dean Forney, an attorney in Alliance, Nebraska, has been hired to represent Mr. Hanson and has agreed to represent the Museum Association Members. Please read this information packet. After reading all the material, please answer the Questionnaire and mail it back by stapling it together and adding postage. We need to be able to tell how the Membership feels about the this situation. We have rights as members of the Museum Association and we inted to do whatever the majority wants. We are planning on having the first ever Museum Assocaition Membership meeting in August. Please watch for the details in a furture mailing.

Our first goal is to get the Charles & Marie back into the Museum and resume control of the day to day operations. Second, we will attempt to get an injunction against James A. Hanson as he has no legal right to interfere in the museum operations. Once this has been accomplished, additional steps will be taken to insure that a small special interest group will never again be able to force their will and try a take over of the Museum and it valuable contents.

As you know, legal fees for any kind of court action are high. A contribution toward the Hanson Legal Fund will be greatly appreciated. Should this effort go to Court and should Charles prevail, he may get his legal fees awarded by the Court and he will donate the entire amount of your contibutions to the New Building Fund. Your donations will not be wasted.

For further information please call:

Bud Hanson, at (308) 432-2937
Richard Emond, at (307) 856-8585
Dean Forney, attorney, (308) 762-6644



Page 4


QUESTIONNAIRE
(Please circle your response)

1. Are you opposed to the action taken by the Board to remove Charles E. Hanson, Jr. as the Director of the Museum? YES / NO

2. Should Charles E. Hanson, Jr. take legal action to regain his postition as Director of the Museum? YES / NO

3. Do you oppose the action of James Hanson to influence the Board of Directors in the removal of Charles E. Hanson, Jr.? YES / NO

4. Do you approve the change of policy to hire a paid Director for $35,000.00 per year? YES / NO

5. Do you miss your quarterly publication? YES / NO

6. Will you support the necessary action to reinstate Charles E. Hanson, Jr.? YES / NO

7. Will you contribute to the Charles E. Hanson, Jr. Legal Fund? YES / NO

8. Amount: $________________


OPTIONAL:

NAME: ____________________________________

ADDRESS: _________________________________

__________________________________________

__________________________________________

PHONE: __________________________________


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