Hyrum Museum volunteer surprised by statewide honor
By Kathryn Summers
HYRUM -- Being named Utah's 1999 Community Volunteer of the Year came as quite a surprise to Valoie Albrecht, but not to the people who know her.
Last week in Salt Lake City, Albrecht was presented with the award by the Utah League of Cities and Towns. She received a certificate signed by Gov. Michael Leavitt and a check for $500. The award was given in recognition of her years of service to the Hyrum Museum.
"It was long overdue. She's worked hard," said Hyrum Librarian Ginny Tremayne.
Albrecht was told she needed to go to Salt Lake City for a library and museum conference, but no one told her about the award. Tremayne drove Albrecht to Salt Lake City, where her award was announced during dinner.
"I got down there and found out I was part of the affair," Albrecht said. "Maybe it's a good thing I didn't know, or I would have been real nervous," she added, smiling.
Her love for the Hyrum Museum and its treasures is readily apparent. She loves to show visitors around her museum.
She said kids come in and ask her if there is any new stuff in the museum. Ever the joker, she replies, "Everything in here is old. I do have new old stuff, though."
The museum is tucked in the basement of Hyrum's Civic Center, next to the library.
The museum started out in an old church as a collection of rocks and a replica of old Fort Hyrum. On May 1, 1991, the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the museum's new location was held, according to a plaque hanging near the museum door.
Almost everything in the museum was donated. The displays are eclectic enough to interest almost everyone. Most of the large collection of rocks and fossils was donated by Lamar Baxter, who grew up in Hyrum and was very interested in geology, Albrecht said.
Her sister, who lived in Italy, donated a vase-lamp made of the same marble Michelangelo's Pieta is sculpted from. The lamp had to be rewired because it was made for European electrical current, said Albrecht.
Her favorite exhibits are the rocks. She also likes a tray with a picture of a peacock on it. The unusual thing about the tray is the whole design is made only with beautiful butterfly wings. She believes the tray is from Rio de Janiero.
Albrecht and her late husband, who also ran the musuem, used to go on "field trips," to see what they could find. She pointed out some fossils, two steins from Germany, and and copper from the Kennecott mines they found on their field trips.
Another exhibit Albrecht likes is rather small, but special to the children in Hyrum. It's an exhibit case where the children can display their favorite treasures. There are rocks, arrowheads, and shell bracelet, and other small items.
The musuem is open on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m.
Albrecht said she also does special tours if people call ahead.
Archived Months:September 1998