Scottville Clown Band donates archives to historical society.

January 24, 2020

Mason County Historical Society Executive Director Rebecca Berringer and Scottville Clown Band President Jim Lindenau hold some of the band’s photo albums.

Scottville Clown Band donates archives to historical society.

PERE MARQUETTE TOWNSHIP — The Scottville Clown Band donated its historical archives to the Mason County Historical Society today, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. The band’s collection of photographs, newspaper articles, and artifacts go back to its beginnings in 1903. The major portion of the collection is a series of bound albums that were originally maintained by the late Ray Schulte, who re-formed the band in 1947 following its hiatus during World War II.

The donation is taking place in conjunction with the opening of the historical society’s new research center at 130 E. Ludington Ave., on the southwest corner of Ludington Avenue and Harrison Street in Ludington. An open house will be held on Saturday, Feb. 15 beginning at 3 p.m. During that time, tours of the building will be conducted and select collections, including some of the Clown Band archives, will be on display. Read more here.

For many years the Clown Band has had a presence at the society’s Historic White Pine Village in Pere Marquette Township with its Scottville Clown Band Museum of Music.

“The Clown Band has always enjoyed its relationship with the historical society,” said Clown Band President Jim Lindenau. “Placing our archives in the care of the historical society was a unanimous decision by the band’s board of directors. We know that these valuable records are in good hands with the historical society.”

The new research library will include a climate controlled facility that will improve preservation of the historical society’s collection.

Currently, the research library is located in the Admissions Building at White Pine Village. “The Admissions Building is not really the best place to store some of our county’s most precious historical documents,” said Rebecca Berringer, executive director of the historical society. “The building is actually in a state of disrepair and does not provide adequate preservation methods needed for these items.”

The addition of the research center is part of a $5 million renovation project that will also include enhancements at White Pine Village and the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum.

“The Scottville Clown Band and the Mason County Historical Society are two of Mason County’s oldest organizations,” said Clown Band Treasurer Rob Alway. “The archives of the band will now be in a safe place where those records can be properly categorized and digitized. Most importantly, the history of the Clown Band will be accessible to the public.” 

“Another plus for the band is that its history is continuous and we will continue to add to this collection for many years to come. It should be a win for both organizations,” Alway said.

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