Snow village sale in Richland rakes in $3,700 for CREHST

By Loretto J. Hulse, Herald food writerJanuary 15, 2013 

The bird lady and her flock are gone, the bus driver assisting the young boy too. The ski gondolas are still and the man chopping wood won't cut another cord this year.

They're all part of the Department 56 Snow Village collection donated last November to the CREHST museum in Richland. The 160 pieces -- collected over decades by Gary and Brenda Schuhmacher of Kennewick -- were set up and exhibited at the museum over the holidays.

Visitors were able to place bids for each piece through Jan. 10 when the silent auction closed. Now the village is being dismantled, the pieces boxed up, ready for their new owners.

"The exhibit was popular and is proving to be a really good fundraiser," said Ellen Low, executive director of CREHST.

At last count, the sale of the collection had netted the museum $3,700.

She said bidding turned frantic the last day of the auction.

"People were here for the last minute bidding fast and furiously. It was fun to see the feeding frenzy at the very end," Low said.

Two of the miniature buildings -- the WSNOW radio station and the Paramont theater -- went for $200 apiece. Another bidder paid $350 for several pieces.

"They went to the same person, one of our volunteers," said Patty Brown, the museum's office coordinator.

Brown is hoping some of the proceeds from the auction will pay for a new printer.

"It's a crabby printer. It keeps jamming and it's been making some funny noises," Brown said.

The balance of the money will go into the museum's general fund where it will cover a lot of needs they have, Low said.

About 30 pieces of the collection remain unsold. They'll first be offered to everyone who placed a bid, whether successful or not.

"Then we'll perhaps offer them on ebay or put them into our Spring Swing fundraiser on April 13," Low said.

A list of the pieces available will be ready in about a week. Brown asks anyone who's interested in buying one or more to send an email to admin1@

In the meantime she's hoping the winning bidders will visit the museum soon.

"The collection's been boxed, sorted by bidder and is taking up exhibit space. They need to go, we have another exhibit coming," Brown said.

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