“Scottish Stones: Destiny Calls” screens free

The Northwest Montana Historical Society is proud to partner with the Flathead Valley Celtic Festival to invite you to a can’t-miss evening cultural event for the entire family on Friday, April 8, at 6:30pm at the Northwest Montana History Museum! “Scottish Stones: Destiny Calls” is FREE to attend and will feature a 7:00pm showing of the 2008 Scottish film Stone of Destiny, paired an introduction packed with Gaelic history and culture from the fine folks at the Flathead Celtic Festival.

As Scotland fails to establish its own parliament once again, young patriot Ian Hamilton (Charlie Cox) vows to salvage national pride by returning the Stone of Destiny, a symbol of Scottish sovereignty to its rightful place. Trouble is, the talismanic brick has been housed in Westminster Abbey under watchful English eyes since 1296.Based on a true story, Stone of Destiney is rated PG and runs for 96 minutes. In addition to Charlie Cox, the films stars Billy Boyd, Robert Carlyle, and Kate Mara.

The Flathead Valley Celtic Festival is a 501(c)3 nonprofit with the mission to spread Celtic culture throughout the Flathead Valley. The organization is best known for the titular festival that is held on second weekend in September and includes a Scottish heavy games competition, traditional music and dance, educational workshops, and Celtic clan representation. Besides the Festival, the organization puts on a number of other educational events throughout the calendar year, with this movie night being the most recent addition.

This screening will be free to attend, and all donations will be split evenly between the Flathead Valley Celtic Festival and the Northwest Montana Historical Society. In addition, the Flathead Celtic Festival will be raffling off some prizes to help support its mission. Of course, in keeping with Celtic Festival traditions, beer will be available for purchase. Popcorn, snacks, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages will also be available.

The Northwest Montana History Museum is located at 124 2nd Avenue East in Beautiful Downtown Kalispell, Montana, and is open to the public Monday through Thursday, 10-5, through the end of March. Call at the Museum at 406 756 8381 with any questions or inquiries.

“How to Make a Million in the Wild West”: You can’t afford to miss this

On Thursday, January 27th, the Northwest Montana History Museum is happy to welcome Dr. Bill Farley, who will explore the many ways average men became self-made millionaires in Montana and the early American West. 
The Wild West era in American history is replete with stories of prospectors, merchants, and outlaws in search of great wealth. A rare few achieved their dreams, while everyone else either met their demise, returned home, or settled for steady wages working for others. In this presentation, author Bill Farley will discuss a variety of ways Wild West millionaires built their wealth – including James A. Murray, the most successful Irish entrepreneur in the American West – in a landscape where there were few laws and a skeleton of a justice system.

Bill Farley holds a Ph.D. from the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. His research interests include economic and policy history with his work having been published in Montana: The Magazine of Western History, the Journal of San Diego History and the Journal of Policy History. He also has published trade articles in Wild West Magazine, American Ancestors, as well as a trade book on Montana Pioneer James A. Murray (Mountain Press Publishing, 2018). Dr. Farley has been an invited lecturer at the An-Ri-Ra Festival in Butte and on two occasions at the Montana Historical Association in Helena. He was recently commissioned by the Irish Royal Academy to prepare an entry for James A. Murray into the Dictionary of Irish Biography. 

How to Make a Million in the Wild West will be held at the Northwest Montana History Museum on Thursday, January 27th, at 7pm. The event is free to attend, and beer, wine, and pop will be available for purchase. 

Everyone is always welcome at the Northwest Montana History Museum. However, if you have a cough, a fever, or are just feeling under the weather, we kindly ask that you visit us some other time; not only for your own health, but for the well-being of our staff and other supporters.

The Northwest Montana History Museum is located at 124 2nd Ave E., Kalispell. Call 406- 756-8381 for more information.

The John White Speaker Series returns in a new, improved format

For nineteen years, the Northwest Montana Historical Society’s John White Speaker Series has been a highlight of the season, returning year after year to break up the dark winter and entertain us all with a reliable slate of engaging and insightful discussions.

If there was anything to be gained during the last year, circumstances propelled us even faster into the digital age, enabling us to reach more people than ever. At the same time, the personal, face to face connections were sorely missed. So this year, with lessons learned and new tricks up our sleeves, we are proud to offer BOTH in-person and digital presentations.

All John White Series presentations are Sundays at 2:00pm.
New for 2022, the Museum is happy to offer three different ways to experience the John White Speaker Series –

Members of the Northwest Montana Historical Society can reserve the entire series for a discounted rate of $35
General Admission to each individual event is $10 per person.

All admission sales include a digital version of the presentation, to be provided by email the day after the event. Purchase in person at the Museum (located at 124 2nd Avenue East in Downtown Kalispell), or call 406-756-8381 to register and pay by credit card.

Digital-only access will be available on the Museum website ( for $8 per event, and will also include entry to the “overflow” room at the Museum with a live-stream during the presentation. Like the other John Whites Series option, the digital version of the presentation will be provided the day after the event.

Due to health and safety preclusions related to the COVID 19 pandemic, in-person attendance will be limited, so advance reservations are highly recommended. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact the Northwest Montana History Museum at 406-756-8381, or by email at

Local author John Fraley adds to the annual holiday open house festivities

In what has quickly become one of our favorite events of the calendar year, the Northwest Montana  History Museum is once again happy to host our FOURTH annual Holiday Open House! The yuletide festivities begin Wednesday, December 15, when local author/ historian/ friend of the Museum John Fraley will pay us a visit to sign copies of the highly-anticipated RE-LEASE of Wild River Pioneers:

From its headwaters, the Middle Fork of the Flathead River flows 92 wild and scenic miles through the Bob Marshall and Great Bear Wildernesses and alongside Glacier National Park. It also flows through history, carrying the stories of explorers, trappers, prospectors, railroad builders and train robbers, moonshiners, hoteliers, horse packers, wilderness rangers, and more. Author John Fraley knows this river and its stories as well as anyone, and Wild River Pioneers is his collection of true tales about shootouts, grizzly bear attacks, a murder (and a hanging), secret caves, fortunes won and lost, a wily Josephine Doody bootlegging in Glacier National Park, and an ice cream–eating pet bear.

John Fraley will be at the Northwest Montana History Museum’s Schoolbell Books & Gifts on Wednesday, December 15, from 4:00 to 7:00pm.  John is always happy to chat about all of his books, which include 2018’s Rangers, Trappers, and Trailblazers, 2019’s re-release of A Woman’s Way West, and last year’s Heroes of the Bob Marshall Wilderness .  All three books are available in our Schoolbell Books & Gifts, so this is the perfect chance to pick up an autographed copy for your own personal library. They also make outstanding Christmas gifts! As a gift from us to you, for the evening of the 15th only, we are offering 10% off everything in our Schoolbell Books & Gifts (including John’s books)!

And by no means are the festivities confined to the Bookstore! The NWMTHS’ two newest exhibitions, A Tale of 10 Objects, 1910 to 1920 and Glories, Chores, and Hardships , are also scheduled to premier on December 15th! The halls of the Museum will be decked out in our holiday best, and  Christmas cookies will be on the menu, regardless if you’ve been naughty or nice! This event is completely free to attend. We HO-HO-HOpe to see you there!

Come witness the changes of time through then and now imagery

Change over time is often difficult to visualize. Before we know it, the landscape has shifted, buildings are demolished and erected, and new people and businesses have displaced what once was. And the truth is, we become accustomed to these changes remarkably quickly. Too often, all that is left is our memories, and those memories get dimmer each passing day. On Sunday November 14th, at 2pm, the Museum is happy to welcome back Doug Ammons, who will visit the museum with an innovative, visual presentation of how Montana has changed over time. The final decades of the 19th century are among the most dynamic in the history of the state, as the west was “won” and trading posts began to sprout into communities. Each image that Doug will introduce starts from this time period, before slowly changing before our eyes into the modern landscape, a century of transformation depicted in mere seconds. At each new image, eyes will widen and jaws will undoubtedly drop to the ground in amazement. On top of the visuals, Doug’s story-telling will bring the history to life in a way that a static photograph simply cannot.

Doug Ammons attended the University of Montana for degrees in mathematics and physics, and his PhD in experimental psychology, and has pursued many other interests such as geology and history. He is an award winning author, Emmy Award winning cinematographer, scientific editor, and extreme kayaker. There will be book sales and signing by the author.

Doug last visited the Museum in 2019, when he visited the Museum to talk about A Darkness Lit By Heroes, his excellent account of the Granite Mountain-Speculator Mining Disaster in Butte. The book has been chosen as the Museum’s Historic Book Club selection for December 1st. It is available in our Schoolbell Books & Gifts, and Doug will also be selling and signing copies of the book after the November 14th presentation.

Although Doug has delivered this presentation in the Valley before, it has since been expanded with never-before-seen content and more of a local, Northwest Montana flair! Masks are not required but are highly recommended for all attendees. The Museum is also exploring ways to make this content available digitally. This event is FREE to attend, and all donations will go to Doug to offset his travel expenses

Time to Break Out the Fabric Swatches: Quilting Classes Resume at the Northwest Montana History Museum

As the skies begin to clear and leaves begin to fall, all of us here in the Flathead Valley can breathe a small sigh of relief. However, with these welcoming signs of Autumn come cooler temperatures. And like clockwork, we also mark the season’s change with the return of our popular Quilting Class! Beginning in October, the class will be meeting at the Museum every other Wednesday through November from 1 to 4 pm.
FALL QUILTING DATES (all classes are on Wednesdays from 1 to 4pm)
Oct 6
Oct 20
Nov 3
Nov 17
Anybody interested can attend any or all weeks, as the class is completely free and open to the public. Participants can be complete beginners or experienced quilters looking to learn tips and new skills for projects, or looking for fellowship with fellow quilters. Swatches and tools are provided, although participants should feel free to bring anything they would like to use. The workshop is led by local quilter and Museum volunteer Betty Jo Malone, and, after a month off, will be returning on a similar schedule in January.  Any questions can be directed to Betty Jo at 406-755-6323. After the last couple of years, we can all us a little more comfort in our lives, so learning to make your own quilt should be first on your list.

Kalispell museums mark Locals Day on Saturday, Sept. 18

After a hectic summer, the Northwest Montana History Museum, the Hockaday Museum of Art and Conrad Mansion Museum are pleased to announce the FIRST ANNUAL Locals Day on Saturday, September 18, from 10 am to 6 pm!

            On September 18, any Montana resident can purchase an admission pass to Locals Day for only $10. This pass will allow unlimited admission to all three museums on September 18. Proceeds benefit each museum’s mission to preserve and interpret history and culture in Northwest Montana. Additionally, a representative at each location will be stamping the pass cards when you enter each building. Anyone who collects stamps from all three museum will be entered into a raffle drawing for a GRAND PRIZE! There will be multiple chances to win, and each raffle basket will be filled with items and gift certificates to local Flathead Valley businesses.

            Admission for children ages 12 and younger will be FREE for Locals Day, regardless of residency. Each child in attendance on Locals Day will receive a scavenger hunt that, if completed and turned in, will make them eligible to win a GRAND PRIZE of their very own. There will be multiple chances to win. All children need to be accompanied by an adult to participate on Local’s Day.

 Admission passes for Locals Day can be purchased and turned in at any of the three museums the day of the event, so it matters not what order you choose to visit these fine cultural institutions. The three museums are located mere blocks apart in Beautiful Downtown Kalispell, making for a very pleasant walking or driving circuit on a late summer afternoon. In addition to having the option to tour museum galleries, all three museums will be offering family-friendly activities, and local food trucks will be available.

            Gather up your friends and neighbors for this special event. This is a perfect chance to explore the other cultural institutions that make our community great (and supporting these organizations in the process!)

            Please call any of the three Museums for more information. The Northwest Montana History Museum is located at 124 2nd Ave East and can be reached at 406- 756-8381. The Hockaday Museum of Art is located at 302 2nd Ave E and can be reached at 406-755-5268 . The Conrad Mansion Museum is located at 330 Woodland Ave and can be reached at 406-755-2166

Movie Night does some matchmaking

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers – Monday, August 23, 7:00pm

The Northwest Montana History Museum is happy to announce the next Movie Night at the Museum on Monday, Aug. 23, with the 1954 classic musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers!

Milly (Jane Powell) is excited to move in with her new husband Adam (Howard Keel ), picturing a life of domestic bliss. She is less excited by what she finds, a pig sty occupied by Adam and his six rough-and-tumble brothers.  After living with Milly, the brothers decide they want to find wives of their own; apparently, there is a fine line between “finding” and “abducting”.

Though still very much considered a great work of classic cinema, much of the discussion around Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in recent decades has been of the themes of sexism and women’s rights.  In fact, in a more modern lens, elements of the film are more easily viewed as satire than actual plot points. To illustrate, the following alliterative slogan was used to promote the film in 1954:

  • Adam abducted Milly
  • Benjamin brought Dorcas
  • Caleb caught Ruth
  • Daniel detained Martha
  • Ephraim eloped with Liza
  • Frank fetched Sarah
  • Gideon grabbed Alice