CARTER COUNTY GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Exploring 90 Million Years of History in Southeastern Montana

aka CARTER COUNTY MUSEUM   |   Ekalaka, MT   |  cartercountrymuseum.org

Mission

"To increase and diffuse knowledge and appreciation of history, art and science; to discover, excavate and preserve fossils, fossil bones, and human artifacts; to advance the science of archaeology and paleontology; to collect and preserve objects of historic, artistic, and scientific interest; and to acquire and maintain a library to assist in the above purpose."

Ruling year info

1938

Executive Director

Sabre Moore

Main address

PO Box 445 306 N Main Street

Ekalaka, MT 59324 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

81-6012684

NTEE code info

Museum & Museum Activities (A50)

Natural History, Natural Science Museums (A56)

History Museums (A54)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Carter County Museum envisions an engaged community that works in concert with the museum to promote the incredible fossil and archaeological resources of the area, their stewardship, and increased knowledge through scientific inquiry and research.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Exhibits

Paleontology
Ekalaka has been an epicenter of dinosaur discoveries for the last century and continues to be a source of scientific discovery to this day. The exhibits of the Lambert Room include a mounted skeleton of the duckbill dinosaur Anatotitan copei (one of a few nearly complete specimens of its kind) as well as a complete skull of Triceratops. The badlands around Ekalaka have also produced pachycephalosaurs, pterosaurs, tyrannosaurs, and ankylosaurs. Notably, both the first known as well as the most complete juvenile T. rex have been found here, fueling much of what we know about how these animals grew. Mounts and casts of all of these are on display along with countless other real dinosaur bones.

Carter County has more than just dinosaurs, however. Exhibits also display the bones of sea reptiles and the shells of ammonites from when the Pierre Sea covered the midwest of North America. The Fort Union Formation records life after the dinosaurs, a landscape becoming increasingly dominated by small mammals. The Arikaree Formation and Pleistocene channel fill record the later arrival and origination of large mammals, like brontotheres and mammoths.

Regional History
In the spring of 1881, David Russell and his wife Ijakalaka — an Ogalala Sioux — moved to eastern Montana and began a family. In 1885, a town had grown up near their ranch and was named Ekalaka, spelled phonetically for the ease of visitors. The Carter County Museum tells the story of the presence of American Indians in this area which goes back far more than the 1880s. This area has been home to several tribes, including the Crow, Northern Cheyenne, Mandan/Hidatsa, Lakota (Sioux), and Assiniboine and extends back to the Pleistocene era with the Mill Iron Site. On exhibit we have bead work, pottery, hunting and gathering tools as well as other items that illustrate a livelihood and enduring traditions that continue today.

As the homesteaders moved into the area their possessions traveled across the prairie with them. The exhibits here at the CCM reflect the numerous donations that have been made by the residents of Carter County, telling a story that stretches back to the late 1800s. That story is told in garments, tools, guns, saddles, branding irons and more.

With the formation of Carter County in 1917, many of county’s sons and daughters have answered the call of their country and marched off to war, some never to return. The purpose of the Veteran's Room is to tell their story in some small way. Each display within the Veteran’s room depicts an era of our country’s call to duty, beginning with the Indian Wars in the mid 1800′s to Desert Storm, complete with many of the uniforms, accouterments, and memorabilia of the experience.

Population(s) Served
Families

The Carter County Museum is an active member of the Montana Dinosaur Trail and an anchor institution in the community of Ekalaka, Montana. In addition to our permanent and rotating exhibitions, we offer educational programming in the form of our annual Dino Shindig Event , school visits and lectures, as well as presentations at our Geological Society Meetings.

Our curriculums, created in partnership with Museum of the Rockies and other partners are available on our Flipsnack profile at: https://www.flipsnack.com/cartercountymuseum/. Additionally, we operate a summer Junior Scientist program, which uses NISE Earth & Space kit material to introduce students to science and history, and Camp Clades & Spades fossil cam with Montana Learning Center. Throughout the summer we co-host Dark Sky Events at Medicine Rocks State Park and star parties at other sites across the county.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Adults

Visitors from all over the world attend the Annual Dino Shindig in the last weekend of July to hear lectures from leading paleontologists, partake in kids activities, and dance the night away. On the second day of the event, people participate in a dig day and excavate real fossils. Some discoveries even end up on display.

Population(s) Served
Families
Students

The Carter County Museum is a member of the Montana Dinosaur Trail, a sister museum of the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana, and a member of the Kumamoto Montana Natural Science Museum Association. We have a local, national, and global reach and responsibility to advance knowledge of the paleontological and cultural history of Carter County and southeast Montana. Our outreach programs aid us in this endeavor, as we host a booth at the annual Society of Vertebrate Paleontology conference and the Denver Gem and Mineral Show.

In 2020, the museum ventured into virtual programming, including virtual star parties, Facebook Lives and a hybrid format Dino Shindig. The institution also started a YouTube channel and made collections available on Montana Memory Project and montananewspapers.org. In 2021, we joined SketchFab (https://sketchfab.com/CarterCountyMuseum) and are in the process of 3D scanning objects to include on this site for educational use.

Population(s) Served
Families

The CCM offers seasonal internships and volunteer opportunities with our field crew, fossil preparation team, and museum collections. Examples of past projects include designing American Indian exhibit displays and establishing a native species garden.

Population(s) Served
Students
Adolescents

Where we work

Accreditations

Museum Assessment Program 2018

Collections Assessment Program 2019

Medicine Rocks International Dark Sky Sanctuary Designation 2020

Awards

Event of the Year 2017

Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development

Affiliations & memberships

Montana Dinosaur Trail 2018

Kumamoto Montana Natural Science Museum Association 2016

Museum of the Rockies (sister museum) 2013

Non-DOI Repository for BLM Collections 2013

NASA Museum Affiliate 2019

NISE Network Sustainability Fellow 2021

Culture and Community Participating Organization 2021

International Dark Sky Association - Montana Chapter 2019

Measurement of Museum Social Impact Host Museum 2021

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of policies formally established

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Institutional policies including a Collections Management Plan, Disaster Plan, Volunteer and Whistleblower Policy, Code of Ethics, Organizational Chart, and a Prep Manual were established in 2017-2019

Number of clients participating in educational programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Related Program

Educational Programming

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We began keeping track of number of students served through our on-site and off-site Educational Programs in 2017.

Average daily attendance

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Exhibits

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Despite continued challenges due to the COVID19 pandemic, we increased on-site attendance by 55% from 2020. Safety precautions remain in place according to local public health policies.

Number of volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Volunteer Opportunities and Internships

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

We define success here in the quality of volunteer time, rather than quantity. COVID-19 greatly affected our volunteer force in 2020. However, quality of effort remained high.

Hours of volunteer service

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Volunteer Opportunities and Internships

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Recovery from the effects of COVID19 continues, many of our volunteers served during the 2021 Dino Shindig (9th Annual).

Total dollar amount of grants awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

SHARPS Grant of $10,000 and a SHARPS Project Grant of $9,620 from Humanities Montana were our largest grants in 2021.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The Carter County Museum is dedicated to inspiring, educating and enriching the life of the public by deepening the understanding and appreciation of history, art and science through the collection, research, preservation and exhibition of fossils, archaeological and cultural material, and the acquisition of a reference library with a focus on southeastern Montana and the surrounding region. The staff, board, and community members are actively working together to promote museum growth through scientific collection and research, donations, and unique programming. A current capital fundraising campaign is seeking $4.2 million for a building expansion. The new space will accommodate new fossil acquisitions, the Medicine Rocks visitor center, and exhibitions on the Western Interior Seaway, Hell Creek Cretaceous period, Tooke Bucking Horse legacy, Paleoindian and modern American Indian history, the settlement of Carter County, art, and military history.

We demonstrate Integrity. We align our actions with our words and encourage open debate.

We value Curiosity. We create an integrated environment where all people can explore, experiment, and share what is learned. We honor diverse learning styles and promote constructive dialogue among ourselves and with visitors.

We encourage Creativity, innovation, and resourcefulness.

We practice ethical and fiscal accountability and strive for transparency and careful Stewardship of resources, including collections, staff, facilities and donations.

We develop and encourage mutually beneficial Collaboration that helps further the museum’s mission.

We ensure the museum’s future Sustainability with robust financial management of income and expenses; and strong, effective philanthropy and endowment development.

The Carter County Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located centrally on the Main Street of Ekalaka, Montana, a ranching community with a population of 331. Founded in 1936 by amateur archaeologists and paleontologists of the Carter County Geological Society, the museum’s original mission was related to the collection and study of dinosaur fossils found on local ranches. The museum has the proud distinction of being Montana’s first county museum as well as the state’s first dinosaur museum. The CCM is one of fourteen museums on the Montana Dinosaur Trail, a passport-style tour of Montana’s dinosaur-bearing institutions.

The CCM is a member of the Kumamoto Montana Natural Science Museums Association, Museum Association of Montana, Mountain Plains Museum Association and the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. We are a sister museum to the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman Montana, and a non-federal repository for Bureau of Land Management (BLM) fossils.

Since 2010, the museum has undergone a revitalization effort, which quadrupled attendance from 1,000 to 4,895 visitors in 2017 as well as tripled yearly income. In 2017, the Dino Shindig served an audience of approximately 900 people and raised over $10,000. We are engaged in a number of collaborative partnerships, collections stewardship projects, educational programming and outreach. Our success is due to extensive donor, staff, volunteer and community support.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    The Carter County Museum serves families, students, and individuals of all ages, ethnicities, gender identities and cultural backgrounds.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.),

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    The introduction of the Junior Scientist day camp to better serve children our local and visiting population. Increased online presence including virtual exhibits on Montana Memory Project and educational, family friendly videos on our YouTube channel.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback,

Financials

CARTER COUNTY GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

CARTER COUNTY GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Llane Carroll

Carter County Geological Society

Marlene Waterland

Carter County Geological Society

Brice Lambert

Carter County Geological Society

Branson Rogers

Carter County Geological Society

Jerry Cline

Carter County Geological Society

Michelle Mehling

Carter County Geological Society

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/24/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/12/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.