After months of renovation, the Marzen House Museum attracted a crowd when it officially reopened on Saturday. Visitors explored indoor displays and an outdoor “village” still in the works and a gang of Clampers christened their third historic marker outside the museum.
The E Clampus Vitus marker describes Mazuma, a mining town founded in 1907 where a flash flood drowned eight people in 1912. Clampers raised their fists as the new plaque was uncovered and doused with cans of beer. The brotherhood places markers to promote the West’s mining history and recognize the hardships and calamities that early miners endured.
The museum is now open from noon to 4 pm on Wednesdays through Saturdays according to Museum Director Kelly Thompson who will give museum tours to visitors after hours, if needed.
“If there is a vehicle here, stop in and we are more than happy to give you a tour,” she said. “This is the end of my third week on the job and I am amazed. The museum is bright, it is open, there is so much more to walk through and we are expanding exhibits out into the yard. The word is out that we are open again and we’ve had quite a few people stop by.”
Museum Board member Frank Fisk said more visitors have been stopping by for tours.
“When I’m working down here, people show up and I take them through. Last weekend, I had a couple from Reno and a couple from California or Pennsylvania,” he said. “The people from Reno took a day off to look at the Indian Caves and the Chinese Cemetery. They stopped here for information and I asked if they wanted to go through the museum. They loved it.”
The Reno couple said they’ll be back “to see what else you’ve done.” Fisk confirmed that Marzen House Museum could benefit the Lovelock community by attracting history buffs.
“I had one couple- that’s all they do is go to museums. They were on their way to Winnemucca to check out that museum and then on up to Elko,” he said. “I hope this museum will be a tourist destination. I think it will be good for Lovelock once they see what we are doing here.”
The museum advisory board might move the Lovelock Indian Cave display from the Marzen House to the old firehouse but permission for that project is needed from the Bureau of Land Management. Students from around the region see duck decoy replicas and other Indian artifacts as they learn about Native American history during the annual Lovelock Cave Days.
Fisk, a member of the Battle Mountain Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Native Americans, said he is not opposed to moving the Lovelock Cave display to the firehouse where it would be displayed with a mineral collection, Chinese artifacts, a mine history project and other displays.
“It’s nice but it doesn’t really belong in a house, I believe,” he explained. “It would be better displayed in a larger environment instead of a room in the house. But, if they don’t want to move it that’s fine because we don’t want to lose it. When people show up, I always mention that Lovelock is famous for duck decoys. I give them the history and they are pretty amazed.”
NAME OUR TOWN
Residents are asked to suggest names for the village. Along with the blacksmith shop and assay office, there could be a schoolhouse, a mercantile, an icehouse, a bar and a brothel.
“We’re trying to get people to give their suggestions on what to name this little town,” Board Chairman Bonnie Skoglie said. “We have one name but we need more than just one.”
The board is looking for old buildings, building materials and cash donations for the project.
An audio-video history project featuring interviews and narration by long-time residents and former museum board members could add a new dimension to the Marzen House Museum.
“We’ve got a grant in the works that would help pay for that,” Skoglie said. “It would be a tour of the museum with some of our older people that have been here their whole lives narrating it. They love talking about their history. It would be good for them and good for everybody.”
Fisk has recordings that could enhance the Native American/Lovelock Indian Cave exhibit.
“My mother, before she passed away, recorded a whole bunch of CDs of the Shoshone language, translating and speaking it, for the Great Basin College up in Elko,” he said. “I think it would be neat for people to hear the language spoken, if we could get audio equipment set up.”
Former museum director Devoy Munk said her family donated the house and land for the Marzen House Museum. Munk said she would participate in the video history production. “I would love to,” she said during Saturday’s grand reopening.