Last night was the 44th Dawson City Museum Auction. This has been one of my highlights of the year since moving to Dawson, but now I’m on the Museum’s Board of Directors (the Treasurer!) so I got to play a bigger role!
Every auction has a theme, and this year we went with “Under Construction” since the entire 121 year old historical building that houses the museum is in the middle of several maintenance projects, including new tin on the roof, the entire building is wrapped in white plastic for new paint on the exterior, more insulation is going in the attic, and inside the museum exhibits are covered in plastic while the new fire suppression and sprinkler system are being installed. There are ladders and safety warning signs everywhere. So why not embrace the theme that so naturally presented itself!
The auction is the museum’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and this year there were about 75 items to auction off! Part of the fun evening though, is that we ask people to dress up according to the theme (with prizes for the best costumes!), and we put out a big spread of food (free). In addition to the main auction, we also renew memberships for our “Friends of the Museum” program, raffle off one of my neighbour Sylvia’s famous rum cakes, have a 50:50 draw, a tended bar, trivia during intermissions, historical item guessing games, a themed photo booth, and a silent auction.
The 24 hours before the auction were busy as I prepped some dishes for the food spread. I decided to make some dinner rolls and a couple of desserts. I also needed to use our oven to cook dozens of frozen chicken wings.
The first thing I made was Rice Krispie like squares with chocolate and butterschip chips melted on top and then some of the soft ginger cookies I usually make for the holidays. What a quick way to make a mess of the kitchen!
And thank goodness we have two grocery stores because the first was out of white flour and corn syrup! Here’s more of Friday night’s prep:
On Saturday morning I started the buns. My recipe makes about 24 so I thought, should I double it? Triple it? Something about prepping for a big spread of hungry people makes people overbake out of a fear of not having enough, so I tripled it and ended up with 90 buns!
Then we used both ovens to cook three full trays of chicken wings!
Jeff brought me over to the museum early with the food to help the museum employees and the rest of the board finish up the prep work and getting the food set out from the museum kitchen.
Look at these cute cupcakes!
There were appetizers of all kinds, spring rolls, meat balls, chili, tortilla chips, dips, pulled pork sliders, little quieches, vegetable trays, squares, cakes, cupcakes, and cookies.
The auction is held in the historical courtroom on the second floor of the museum, which is still Dawson City’s active courthouse! Here’s a picture before people arrived for the viewing of the auction items (held the hour before the auction starts).
Some of the items:
The fun part is it is a lively auction, where you know you are just donating money to the town’s beloved museum, and in exchange to win fun prizes, well meaning the things you bid on!
The first thing that comes to mind for costumes were for some high vis construction clothes, but we really didn’t have much lying around the house! I decided to go with a plaid shirt, Jeff’s tool belt, and my hardhat for chain sawing. Jeff wore some coveralls and his firewood cuting helmet.
I was in charge of the paddles! I had to sign them out so all winning bids were tied to a name and phone number. Then as people left, I took their payments.
Jeff brought me food and Coke’s, and filled in for me from time to time while I checked out the auction items.
The first year of covid, the auction was still held, but it was different, very limited in numbers, and spaced out. Last year we had to cancel the event all together due to territorial health restrictions that limited community events. This year the people were back!! We filled the courtroom like the old days, and the crowd spread into the hallway!
Dawson City’s mayor Bill Kendrick was our auctioneer for the night!
I decided to take adventage of a spare moment and take a video of an item up for auction, and what an item! There was a secret addition to the item list, a big bucket from the old gold dredge #10! And while I was taping, there was an emergency call to the volunteer firemen in the room who all ran by me to listen to the page on their handheld radios in the hallway, then filtered back in when it was deemed they were not all needed. Amazing how fast they jumped up! Take a look!
Here’s another video that Jeff captured for an item with some more bidding. This was for a 10 crispy chicken burgers from the Triple J restaurant. In fact, while Jeff was filming this, I took the paddle out of his pocket and bid a couple times, including that $150 bid! ha! But I didn’t win this one.
We had active and lively bidding on all the items! What a great night!
Here are some of the board and the museum employees using the photo booth during the clean up after the event.
What a great night! Start to end, a great time with our community, and a great night fundraising for our museum! A huge amount of gratitute goes out to our community (businesses and individuals) who donated items for the auction.
Jeff was the highest bidder for a few things, including the Coca Cola gift pack, and the gift pack from Yukon Brewing, and from Yukon Built. We each got some hats and t-shirts and sweatshirts, some water bottles, and beers for Jeff and some glass bottled Coke for me! Great work with your paddle Jeff!
And many of those chicken wings came back home with us, and most of the buns, and some of the squares. My chewy ginger cookies were a hit though!! And it is always better to have too much food than not enough.
We’ll have the community back into the museum again in a month for our Christmas Open House get together on December 2.