April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Model history: Voices to be preserved in interactive model

By HSJ Online [email protected]

The town of Hope lost two of its long-time residents this year with the loss of both Ike Wasson and Merrill Clouse. But their knowledge of the town would live on in a project being considered for the Yellow Trail Museum.

The project would be an interactive addition to a detailed town model built by Ike Wasson.

The museum has asked the Town Council to pay $3,500 to fund the project. The money would come from the town's share of the county Economic Development Income Tax revenues. The EDIT committee recommended approval of the expenditure at its meeting last week and the project will go before the Town Council Tuesday night.

Since being built in 2010, the town model has had several homes around the Town Square including in the former Hope Star-Journal offices in the historic bank building on the northeast corner of the square. When that location became the new town pharmacy, the model was moved to a permanent home in the Yellow Trail Museum.

In 2011, Wasson and Merrill Clouse worked with museum director Barb Johnson and David Webster to create an oral history of the locations displayed in the model.

"They sat down with us and told some very interesting stories, some very entertaining stories about all the different businesses that had been on the Town Square in the '30s and '40s," Johnson said. "Some of them we had to cut from the recording. Those were mainly Merrill stories because he always had a lot of humor involved in everything he did. After he would tell a story, he would say 'Now don't include that in the recording!'"

"They did a wonderful job at telling us about the square."

Both men passed away this year, with Wasson dying in January and Clouse passing away last week.

Museum director Barb Johnson said that in his later years, Wasson had pressed her to make sure that the model found a permanent and prominent home.

"Unfortunately he passed away before we got the model digitized," Johnson said.

The interactive display would be the museum's first, she said.

Webster said that the proposed interactive display would include a computer monitor, displaying historic photos with the men's narration of stories from each of the locations. The descriptions and displays would be Webster estimated that it would take about 20 minutes to listen to the entire exhibit.

Clouse had an instrumental role in the creation of the Yellow Trail Museum. In addition to being the first museum president, he also provided the initial second-floor space for the museum and its current home was sold to the museum by Clouse at a steep discount, Johnson said.

Also, many of the displays in the museum were originally displayed in the family's grocery store, Johnson said.

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