A healthy crowd of estate auction hunters gathered on the Stettler Town and Country museum grounds on Tuesday, Aug. 26, to find their special new item to bring into their own homes.
Curator Wilda Gibbon, who died in May this year, bequeathed almost her entire estate to the museum, with which she was involved for more than 30 years.
For nearly 30 years, anyone coming into the Stettler Town and Country Museum would be cheerfully greeted by Gibbon and her miniature dachshund Coco, who would help draw back the curtain of time on the Stettler area’s history and people.
Her loss, shortly before her 90th birthday, was a blow not only to her family and colleagues at the museum, but to the museum itself.
Even in death, however, Gibbon sought to ease that blow, leaving her household to the museum she loved in the hopes it would be sold off at a yard sale or two to raise money.
After discussion with the family, museum manager Karen Wahlund chose to have an auction. Stettler Auction Mart donated their time and services to hold the auction.
“They were all volunteer,” Wahlund said. “We had lots of people, the attendance was fairly good. Items seemed to sell for the right prices.”
The financial results of the auction won’t be known for a bit yet, Wahlund said, but she noted that during the weeks leading up to the auction, and during the auction itself, Gibbon’s presence lingered.
“It’s been tough at times,” she said. “We miss her.”
The money raised through the auction will go to helping support the museum’s exhibits, as well as a potential memorial for Gibbon.
The current front-runner in the memorial ideas is a gazebo where people can sit in the shade, or musicians can play. Roses would be planted, as Gibbon was an avid gardener and loved roses.
The selection of items ranged from newer items to items that had several decades to their name. Bedroom suites, tables and chairs, couches and corner and coffee tables were augmented by sales of boxes of kitchen wares, books, and odds-and-ends.
The museum’s red barn was full up of items which were cleared by the volunteer auctioneers.
“They started at 6 (p.m.) and were done by about 8:30,” Wahlund said. “Shortly past 9 (p.m.) we all went home.”
While Wahlund said she and staff are glad to see the big red barn empty and spacious once again, and corners of the office building returned to normal use, they’d much prefer to still have Gibbon with them.
“She was planning her 90th birthday celebration,” Wahlund recalled. “She was so excited, and she had sent out all the invitations, bought the necessary party things.”
“We miss her.”