Montana landscape photography

Two exhibits focus on Montana landscape and “The Way We Wore”

“Landscapes of the American West: Photography of Jeff Corwin” Dec. 15, 2022-April 30, 2033
“10 Items: The Way We Wore” Dec. 15, 2022-August 31, 2033

Join us for an opening reception 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, at the Northwest Montana History Museum.

On Dec. 15, museum visitors will get two exhibits for the price of none as the Northwest Montana History Museum opens new shows in its two temporary-exhibit spaces.

After 40-plus years working in commercial photography around the world, Montana photographer Jeff Corwin turned to fine art and found inspiration in landscape. Of the 17 pieces in “Landscapes of the American West,” most feature rural views of Montana, including areas near Sourdough, Dillon, Livingston and Wilsall. Two images are of Eastern Washington.

A vacation near Ennis planted the seed for Corwin’s move to east of Bozeman. Now he lives in Cardwell, where he’s building a house. Even so, Corwin says, “I go out and shoot every day.”

His work speaks to the quieter country. “I tend towards the emptiness of landscapes, not the glory of mountains and meadow and late afternoon light,” he says. “I don’t seek out that emptiness, but after so many years, just react to it.”

From a pillowlike snowfield constrained only by a fence in Bozeman, to the lush green leadup to a low butte in Rapelje, Corwin finds much to focus on and frame in his Montana journey.

“The Way We Wore” represents the latest in the “10 Items” installations for which curators take a roundabout look at the collection and present a select group to illustrate a certain theme.

Volunteers Judy Elwood and Sharon Bristow and board member Jane Renfrow will put on display a selection of uniforms connected to the Flathead Valley.

Most of us know the psychological impact of pride felt at the act of putting on a uniform, whether enlisting in military service or joining a sports team or club. The people who wore the uniforms included in the exhibit must have felt a similar thrill. They signaled the high honor of belonging.

The uniforms prepared for the exhibit range from a 1950s Boy Scout uniform and a nurse’s cape and cap to school gym clothing and a band uniform from the Kalispell Fire Department. Also included: a ceremonial coat that belonged to Judge Joseph E. Rockwood, a member of the Patriarchs Militant of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Rockwood served two terms as a judge in the 11th Judicial District, then two terms in the Montana House of Representatives. His 1920s home, on the National Register of Historic Places, stands at 835 First Ave. East.

5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022; free admission
Northwest Montana History Museum, 124 Second Ave. East, Kalispell; 406-756-8381

Northwest Montana History Museum Welcomes Holidays with Its Annual Open House

The Northwest Montana History Museum will open its doors to the community for the museum’s annual holiday open house 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1. Admission is free.

“This event is the perfect way for everyone to start the holiday season,” museum executive director Margaret Davis said. “We’ve got a lot of fun planned for the evening, and we expect a great turnout.”

Highlights of the evening include a kids’ reading soon after the doors open of Jo Parry’s ’Twas the Night Before Christmas in Montana, followed by a presentation at 6:15 p.m. by Ferndale author Leslie Budewitz, who has written more than a dozen books, including the Spice Shop and Food Lovers’ Village mysteries. This will be the first Kalispell book signing for her latest title, Blind Faith.

In addition, Flathead Valley favorite John Fraley returns to the museum book and gift shop to sign copies of his books, including his newly published My Wilderness Life. A history writer and wildlife biologist, this is Fraley’s first account of his personal experiences in the wild.

Of course, the open house is an opportunity for guests to explore the main event: the museum’s exhibits themselves, which cover many aspects of Kalispell and Northwest Montana history and life in the Flathead Valley and beyond.

“Our open house is a wonderful example of community collaboration and our ongoing commitment to education and preserving history,” Davis said. “We will have new holiday displays for which nearly a hundred kids from scouting groups, Bigfork ACES after-school program, and Kalispell Middle School are creating ornaments and other decorative elements, many based on their own class research.

“It is exciting to see this all come together,” she said. “I can’t wait to see the community response to the great work these kids, their leaders, and our volunteers are doing together.”

Refreshments will be served, including fun treats drawn from the recipes in Budewitz’s holiday mysteries Peppermint Barked and As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles.

Chuck Suchy concert

Live in Concert Nov. 5: Chuck Suchy

North Dakota’s official state troubadour Chuck Suchy – also a good friend of the Northwest Montana History Museum’s late ambassador Pete Skibsrud – comes to perform 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Northwest Montana History Museum.

A folk musician, songwriter and farmer from Mandan, N.D., Suchy has released seven albums, many on the well-known Flying Fish label, with songs ranging from ones that celebrate Burma-Shave road signs (“Burma Shave Boogie”), a 15-year-old who died saving her siblings during a 1920 snowstorm (“The Story of Hazel Miner”) and Indian motorcycles and father-son relationships (“Indian Dreamer”).

Suchy brings high-plains music, ace guitar work and emotive singing for an event that honors his friend Skibsrud, whom he met while performing in Kalispell about 15 years ago. “I was doing concerts at the KM theater downtown, and at one of the first ones he just showed up,” Suchy remembers. “We visited afterwards and then he wrote me a letter of appreciation. He offered to put up posters, take tickets, sell CDs for me – in true Pete fashion.”

Skibsrud, who died at 76 in November 2021, lived simply and expansively. He often made the rounds in downtown Kalispell, undertaking special projects for his causes, and making friends wherever he went. His maverick ideas, such as buying the Old Steel Bridge, led to the creation of large-scale art.

“I knew of no one more dedicated to the Kalispell and Flathead Valley community than Pete Skibsrud,” says Jacob Thomas, former executive director of the Northwest Montana History Museum, who will introduce Suchy on Nov. 5. “Not only did he always volunteer to lend a hand whenever needed, but he actively sought out reasons to be helpful and involved. Pete meant a great deal to a number of nonprofits and organizations around the valley, the Northwest Montana History Museum being just one of many.”

Come honor the memory of Skibsrud and feed your soul and ears with original music.

6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5
Northwest Montana History Museum, 124 Second Ave. East, Kalispell, MT 59901; 406-756-8381
A donation of $15 is suggested to cover Suchy’s travel expenses and support the museum, one of Skibsrud’s favorite causes.

“Kalispell: Montana’s Eden” Grand Opening

About 3,500 people came down to the freshly laid railroad tracks in the center of Kalispell on New Year’s Day, 1892, to celebrate the completion of the Great Northern line to St. Paul. Kalispell was officially incorporated as a city a short time later, in April. The earliest occupations in Kalispell related to agriculture, flour milling, and the lumber industry. Traffic in town slowly shifted toward tourism as Kalispell became the Gateway to Glacier National Park.

The railroad brought Northwest Montana into the larger world; now, for the first time ever, the Northwest Montana History Museum tells the story of Kalispell in a permanent exhibit that brings the early town to life. “Kalispell: Montana’s Eden” details the story of this thriving city, from the railroad’s arrival up to the present day. Highlights of the display include a 20-foot-long model of Kalispell’s 1892 Great Northern railroad depot, a movie projector from the old Orpheum theatre, the first printing press of the Daily Inter Lake, THE OLDEST BALD EAGLES IN THE WORLD, and hundreds more historic artifacts!

As the largest exhibition curated in the past 12 years at the Northwest Montana History Museum, “Kalispell: Montana’s Eden” is a project more than three years in the making and the museum’s most ambitious undertaking in decades.

Everyone is invited to attend the free opening reception for “Kalispell: Montana’s Eden” from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 30.  We will serve the same period-appropriate snacks that the revelers would have enjoyed in 1892. To add extra pomp and circumstance to this occasion, the fine folks at Portal Spirits Distillery have come up with historically inspired drink recipes that they will pour for guests at the reception.

“We Burn Like This”: A Flathead Valley Film Premiere plus Q&A with Director Alana Waksman

Filmed in Billings, Butte, and Missoula in 2019 and following its world premiere at the 2021 Santa Barbara International Film Festival, international premiere at Deauville American Film Festival, and year-long film festival tour, “We Burn Like This” comes home to Montana audiences at the Northwest Montana History Museum on June 12.

The “We Burn Like This” Montana tour kicks off on June 9 in Billings at the historic Babcock Theatre, with stops in Livingston, Bozeman, Anaconda, Kalispell, Helena, and Missoula. Writer/director/producer Alana Waksman will be in attendance for a Q&A following the screenings with cast and crew joining her for select showings.

“We Burn Like This” is a coming-of-age story of Rae (Madeleine Coghlan), a young Jewish woman living in Billings, Montana and is written, directed, and produced by Alana Waksman in her feature debut. The film stars Madeleine Coghlan (THE ROOKIE) and Gotham Award and Indie Spirit Award winner Devery Jacobs (RESERVATION DOGS). Also featured are Montana-based actors Kendra Mylnechuk, Casidee Riley, Angelo Rizzo, and Megan Folsom. The film is produced and edited by Billings native Marshall Granger, produced by Montana native Jeri Rafter, and executive produced by Peabody and Emmy award winning producer Neda Armian (RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, THE BALLAD OF LEFTY BROWN) and Eleanor Nett.

When 22 year-old Rae, a descendant of Holocaust survivors, is targeted by Neo-Nazis in Billings, Montana, her ancestors’ trauma becomes real. Inspired by true events, this coming-of-age story shows the inherited effects of historical trauma and the strength of survival and healing.
Waksman’s own family history, as well as the spread of antisemitism in Montana, is what inspired her to write this story.

“We Burn Like This” is a recipient of the Big Sky Film Grant, Montana Arts Council Strategic Investment Grant, State Trade Expansion Program Grant from Montana Department of Commerce, Visit Billings Association Grant, and is now sponsored by Montana Film Office and Humanities Montana for its Montana Tour. “We Burn Like This” received the Audience Choice Award at the 2021 Montana International Film Festival among other noteworthy awards this past year.
“We Burn Like This” writer/director/producer Alana Waksman will be in attendance for the screening on June 12th and will host a special Q & A after the film.
Alana Waksman is an Ashkenazi writer, director, producer, and first generation descendant of Holocaust survivors from Poland. She is an alum of the USC School of Cinematic Arts MFA in Film & Television Production, and Connecticut College BA in Theater and English. As an actor, she trained at Shakespeare & Company, Berkshire Theater Festival, St. Petersburg Dramatic Arts Academy in Russia, and The O’Neill National Theater Institute where she studied under Colman Domingo. While at USC, Alana was chosen as one of ten top directors to co-direct USC’s first feature film, DON QUIXOTE: THE INGENIOUS GENTLEMAN OF LA MANCHA (Palm Springs International Film Festival) with the guidance of James Franco. Her short film BLACKOUT, written by David Haskell, received the Audience Award at the LA Shorts Fest, and Best Actor and Best Cinematography at the Women’s Independent Film Festival.

Tickets to “We Burn Like This” are $15 for the general public and $10 for Museum members. They are available by phone or in person at the Northwest Montana History Museum and online at Eventbrite –

The Northwest Montana History Museum is at 124 2nd Avenue East in downtown Kalispell. Call 406-756-8381.

Ukrainian Refugee Benefit Day at the Museum

The Northwest Montana History Museum will be adding special open hours on Saturday, May 14th, from 10 am to 3 pm. For the entire day, all Museum admission revenue will go towards humanitarian aide to the refugees fleeing the crisis in the country of Ukraine.

Every dollar raised from admission on May 14th will go be donated to the United Way Worldwide’s United for Ukraine Fund.

The fund addresses immediate needs like transportation, accommodation, food, medicine, childcare supplies like infant formula and diapers, and hygiene kits, as well as longer-term needs of those fleeing the conflict.

The Northwest Montana History Museum is located at 124 2nd Avenue East in downtown Kalispell. Regular Museum hours are from 10am to 5pm. Monday through Friday. Admission to the Museum is $5 for adults and $4 for Seniors 62 and older. There is no cost for students or Northwest Montana History Museum members.

Questions? Please contact the Museum at 406 756 8381

“The Lens of Ed Gilliland” Large Format Slide Show

After a six-month delay, the Northwest Montana History Museum is proud to present a much anticipated, can’t-miss showing of the E.B. Gilliland Photography Collection. The Museum will be offering a glace through The Lens of Ed Gilliland on Wednesday, May 11th, from 7 to 9 pm at the Northwest Montana History Museum.

Photography historian and NWMTHS board member Arne Boveng will present a “analog film night” of Ed s photography as the main event of the evening and an unofficial public unveiling of this remarkable collection. This will not be your typical digital or Kodak Carousel slide show – all the slides that Arne will present are larger format, at least two or three times larger than the typical 35 mm. The brilliance, clarity, and precision of these slides (which are mounted between glass plates) is far greater than nearly any other photography format.

Every negative that will be presented is an Ed-Gilliland-original taken in the 1980s or 1990s. Besides his beloved Glacier Park, Ed’s photography from the American Southwest and the Pacific Coast will also be highlighted. Ed had a real gift of capturing light just perfectly, and he worked hard at his craft, often returning to the same location day after day or at multiple times through the year to reveal changes to the landscape. Photography aficionados will be able to spot the subtle yet remarkable differences in the different slide formats that will be on display.

The event is free and open to the public. The Museum hopes you can join us on May 11th to share this special presentation of works from one of the Flathead’s finest photographers.

Before and after the slideshow, attendees will be able to view and purchase some of Ed’s printed work and historic photographs, including some images professional mounted on foamboard and ready for framing.

The Slideshow starts at 7 PM, but the doors to the Museum will open at 6 to give everyone a chance to view the prints for themselves. Beer, wine, and pop will be available for purchase before and during the presentation.

This is a good chance to own a piece of history, from the Flathead Valley, Glacier Park, or the American Southwest. Proceeds support the Northwest Montana Historical Society

Scottish Stones: Destiny Calls – FREE Film Showing And Cultural Event

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.

FREE Presentation – “How to Make a Million in the Wild West”

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 20th Annual John White Speaker Series Returns in a New-and-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

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