The Siskiyou Smokejumper Museum is updating displays, replacing signage, developing new walking guides and installing a wheelchair ramp providing better access to the Administration Building all thanks to a 2021 American Rescue Plan Act grant.
“The ARPA grant made a huge difference in what we can do as a museum,” said Gary Buck, President of the Siskiyou Smokejumper Museum board. “We’re able to reach more people with these new exhibits and make the smokejumper experience even more exciting.”
Buck and three volunteers, Harold Hartman (himself a Gobi smokejumper), Linda Hartman and Dan Laws worked for four days to install the new ramp and later poured a concrete pad that connected the ramp to the walkway. The ramp provides access to the Office and Administration building, the last structure on the campus that had limited access.
The ARPA grant funded the development and manufacture of new signage, much of which was sun blasted and no longer legible. The new signs use a larger font size and so are easily viewed. Among the new signs are three interpretive panels at the Information Kiosk at the parking area. These panels show a redesigned self-guided walking route, historic photos and information on how the Siskiyou Smokejumper Base reduced acres lost to wildfire while it was in operation into the 1980s. The walking guide was also re-designed and was printed in both English and Spanish.
Several new displays help to bring more of the history of the Base into the public eye. A 44′ television screen shows video of smokejumpers, their unique culture and lifestyle and also historic training films from the 1940s. A manikin clothed in authentic gear now expands the impact of the Triple Nickels’ exhibit. QR codes link to narrated smokejumper stories and tall tales; these QR codes are attached to displays in several locations in the museum and are easily found with a phone camera. In addition to this unique digital exhibit, the museum’s website was completely redesigned and adjusts to both mobile and desktop views. Finally, thanks to ARPA grant funding, the museum’s Internet connection was enhanced and made more secure providing better service to museum managers as well as visiting docents.
The American Rescue Plan grant to the Siskiyou Smokejumper Museum in 2021 was made by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act administered by the State Library of Oregon, and was implemented with the support of Southern Oregon University.