The nonprofit Northwest Montana Historical Society operates the Northwest Montana History Museum for the benefit of the Flathead Valley community.

More than 60 volunteers, including a heavily engaged board of directors, assist one full-time and four part-time staff members to keep the museum operating.

Our Mission

The Northwest Montana Historical Society is dedicated to the cultural and educational enrichment of the community through the acquisition, preservation, and display of material related to local history, and to the involvement of the public through research, community events, and volunteer opportunities.

Central School Building right after construction.
Northwest Montana History Museum
The Northwest Montana History Museum is housed in Kalispell's oldest public building, the 1894 Central School.

Our History

The building that houses our museum is a sturdy brick and stone structure, one of the few remaining examples of classic Richardsonian Romanesque architecture, with most of its original hardwood floors, wainscoting, and tin-plate ceilings still in place.

The building was boarded up and threatened with demolition in 1991, but the city of Kalispell renovated the structure at a cost of $2.4 million, and since late 1999 has leased it to the Northwest Montana Historical Society for exhibits, performances, and community meetings.

The Northwest Montana History Museum is the premier facility for exhibits, artifacts, and events focused on regional history.

Our Board

Since the beginning, the Northwest Montana Historical Society (like the Flathead Historical Society before it) has been led and governed by a team of dedicated community volunteers.

Past presidents of the the Northwest Montana Historical Society include Delores Swanburg (1996-1998), Cliff Collins (1999), Sue Dailey (2000-2002), Joann Schadewitz (2003-2005), Robert O’Neil (2006-2009), and Richard Siderius (2010-2012).

Board of Directors

President: Laurie Happ
Vice President: Alex Berry
Secretary: Jim Atkinson
Treasurer: Margaret LeKander

Senior Advisory Directors

Betty Jo Malone
Rick Riley
Bob O'Neil
Linda Robbin

Board Officers

Arne Boveng
Bob Brown
Bill Dakin
Donna Danz
Elaine Graber
Sally Hash Savage
Jim Hollensteiner
A.J. King
Bob Lopp
Jane Renfrow

President Emeritus

Richard Siderius

Our Staff

Margaret E. Davis

Executive Director

Margaret E. Davis comes to the museum with decades of experience in journalism, home renovation and construction, and traditional bookbinding. With a deep appreciation for the Treasure State, artifacts, and archives, she has delved into working where history lives.

Terri Mattson

Museum Administrator

Terri Mattson has degrees in History and English from Carroll College in Helena. As a young Kalispell girl, her family road trips included at least one museum in each trip. Her passion for history was cemented when a particular pirate movie created an interest in nautical history and mythology. She lived for three years in King County, Washington, and loves to explore different places. She spends her free time reading, writing, crafting, and gaming.

Boyd Holt


Boyd Holt is originally from Fort Worth, Texas. He lived there until his military days, which began in our bicentennial year, 1976. After eight years of service, he moved to California; after another move to Nevada, he relocated permanently to Big Sky Country.

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