We are off and swimming in the Great Fish Community Challenge

From now until Sept. 15 the museum joins 77 other Flathead Valley nonprofits for the fundraising campaign masterminded by the Whitefish Community Foundation.

At the $10,000 mark the museum will be eligible for a percentage match from the foundation, which bolsters the net considerably so we can keep on preserving and presenting Northwest Montana stories.

We are grateful to be part of the campaign, and hope you will help us make the most of the match and meet our goal! Last year we raised enough to enable more exhibits, events, the launch of our downtown walking tour, and so much more!

Thank you for your support. We receive every dollar given to us through the campaign. Here’s a direct link to do so, or look out for all the pop-up events around town to donate in person.

Thank you again for keeping history alive and helping make the history to come.

Kalispell’s culture core puts on a party Sept. 23

Last time Kalispell’s premier cultural institutions staged Locals Day, the occasion drew 600 people to enjoy art, history, and fun at three historic landmarks within walking distance of each other in downtown Kalispell.

Now Locals Day returns, this year running 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23.

The Conrad Mansion Museum, Hockaday Museum of Art, and Northwest Montana History Museum will offer discounted admission to all three institutions and special activities to mark the occasion, when we thank our supporters and expand outreach to recruit more. Our institutions could not survive without the community’s support.

Visitors who show their Montana driver’s licenses can buy a “passport” to the Conrad Mansion, Hockaday, and the Northwest Montana History Museum—all located within a nine-minute walk of one another.

The passport costs $12 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and up (kids under 12 are free).

In addition, institutions will stage special activities and offerings at their locations:

The Conrad Mansion Museum, the well-crafted home of a prominent founding family, will offer self-guided tours of the building’s three floors.

The Hockaday Museum of Art, home to Northwest Montana’s artistic legacy, will host food trucks and family activities in its parking lot and lawn. It also will be the final day of the Give Back Benefit Sale exhibition.

The Northwest Montana History Museum, the premier interpreter and presenter of regional history and artifacts, will hold a yard sale of items that either are duplicated in the collection or lack a connection to Northwest Montana. Following International Council of Museums’ protocol, the items first were offered back to original donors, when known, or to other institutions. Proceeds from the sale support the collection. The Flathead Ukulele Network plays noon to 2 p.m.

Thank you to event sponsor Glacier Bank!

Author unveils research highlighting early Chinese of the Flathead

Back in April, Mark T. Johnson came from Helena to talk to a capacity crowd at the museum about the lives of Chinese immigrants in Montana, mostly based on his recently published The Middle Kingdom Under the Big Sky. In Kalispell he drew the largest crowd thus far of the book tour.

Now Johnson has published online further findings on Chinese cemeteries around the state and other early immigrants, including the Flathead Valley’s Mar You, a longtime restaurateur. You’s wife and first son are pictured above in an image from the Northwest Montana History Museum collection.

Visit Kalispell’s Chinese Cemetery — The Middle Kingdom under the Big Sky (bigskychinese.com).

Museum preps for video play

Thanks to Discover Kalispell, the Northwest Montana History Museum along with the Hockaday Museum of Art and the Conrad Mansion Museum soon will be featured in a promotional video.

Above, Diane Medler, the director of the Kalispell chamber’s convention and visitor bureau, readies for the interview portions of the video.

The museum’s bar and backbar from the 1880s, which served its time in various fine drinking establishments from Virginia City to Demersville and Kalispell, moved to the museum in 1998. It had to be lifted through a second-story window to take its place in Hollensteiner-Stahl Hall, one of our exhibit and rental rooms, where it still serves its traditional purpose.

Medler specifically requested the handsome, historic backdrop for the video shoot, and we loved polishing it up for its star turn!

Aliens set to land for July’s Movie Night at the Museum

On July 25, extraterrestrials will land at the Northwest Montana History Museum as Movie Night at the Museum features the 1951 science fiction classic “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” Produced by Julian Blaustein and directed by Robert Wise, the movie features Michael Rennie as Klaatu, an alien humanoid sent to Earth with an ultimatum.

As the representative of a federation of other planets, Klaatu’s mission is to warn humankind that their experiments with atomic weapons are threatening the universe. In addition to delivering his warning, Klaatu is supposed to convince all nations to cease their aggressions and live in peace. Traveling with him is the robot Gort played by Lock Martin. The film also features Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe, Frances Bavier and Billy Gray. In 1995, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.

The movie will screen 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 25. Doors open 6:30 p.m. and admission and popcorn are free. Soda pop, water, beer and wine are available for purchase. Seating is provided, but viewers are welcome to bring their own cushions or seating.

The Northwest Montana History Museum brings the past alive through exhibits, artifacts, educational programs and events. Regular museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at 124 Second Ave. East, Kalispell. For information call 406-756-8381.

History adds to the culture mix at Arts in the Park

Northwest Montana History Museum volunteer Jane Renfrow led the effort to create a booth for the museum, which debuted at the fun run for the Great Fish Community Challenge last summer.

It won rave reviews–but don’t take our word for it. Come see it (and us!) for yourselves at Arts in the Park from July 14-16. Thank you to our friends at the Hockaday Museum of Art for inviting us.

10 to 6 Friday and Saturday,
10 to 4 Sunday
Depot Park, Kalispell

Montana music cued up for those who stayed on

North Valley Music School presents Tall Tales & Tall Songs: An Evening of Songs with Bill Rossiter on Thursday, June 22. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the show goes on at 6.

Lewis and Clark wandered through Montana looking and dreaming of a Northwest Passage. Then they went home.

Homesteaders, hunters, adventurers, and gold-seekers, following a different kind of dream, wandered into the West, too. And they stayed.

Braving the wilderness with hand tools, ox-drawn wagons, and a bucket of hope, these travelers started out singing hopeful songs about the land of milk and honey. By the time they’d settled on their claims they were singing homemade and often hilarious songs about alkali water, grasshopper plagues, chickens with the pip, leaky sod huts, and sharing a bed with a chummy centipede.

Come on out and get an earful of Montana history.

Free to the public, thanks to a grant from Humanities Montana.

The team’s the thing

During World War II, many of the country’s professional baseball players were called into service, leaving the field to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

The 1992 film “A League of Their Own” tells the story of two sisters who join the league to play for the Rockford Peaches. The movie follows professional and personal lives during the 1943 baseball season as two sisters and their teammates play their way to the best record in the league and qualify for the World Series.

Directed by Penny Marshall, the movie stars Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Lori Petty, Rosie O’Donnell, Jon Lovitz, David Strathairn, Garry Marshall, and Bill Pullman. The film was both a critical and commercial success, grossing more than $132.4 million worldwide. In 2012, the Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission and popcorn are free, but donations are accepted to defray costs. Soda pop, water, beer, and wine are available for purchase.  Seating is provided, but viewers can bring their own cushions or seating if they like.

The Northwest Montana History Museum brings the past alive through exhibits, artifacts, educational programs, and events. Regular museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at 124 Second Avenue East, Kalispell. Call 406-756-8381 or visit nwmthistory.org.

Walk this way to know Kalispell

~ If you’re looking to reserve space on a walking tour, visit here! ~

Years in the planning, the Northwest Montana History Museum launches its long-awaited walking tour in early June. Our Downtown Kalispell Walking Tour: The Iron Horse Snorted in the Garden of Eden runs weekly at 10 a.m. Mondays and 4 p.m. Fridays through September. Private tours also are available. Visit here for much more info on the tours.

The well-researched, high-quality walking tour shows how Kalispell evolved into the cultural, economic, and transportation hub of Northwest Montana’s unique Flathead Valley. The approximate two-hour, level, and ADA-accessible tour covers about one mile and makes more than two dozen stops amid 30-plus highlighted buildings that tell the story of Kalispell’s history and people. 

Along the way walkers learn about architectural styles and modern reuse as well as prominent citizens and early settlers, how a bison herd could buy a city block, and where to spot ghost signs.

All walks begin and end at the Northwest Montana History Museum, 124 Second Ave. East, Kalispell, MT 59901.

Recommended for ages 10+

Museum admission is included with a ticket to the walking tour. The walking tour is $20 for adults; $18 for veterans, seniors, and students; $15 for kids 10 to 17 years old; and $10 for kids 4 to 9.

We look forward to walking with you!

Please visit https://www.nwmthistory.org/programs/downtown-kalispell-walking-tour/ for ticket and walk policies. Online ticket sales end a half-hour before the walk begins. Tickets also are available at the museum or by calling 406-756-8381, option 5.

A signed waiver is required to participate in the tour, provided on-site.

This program is sponsored in part by the Foundation for Montana History and researched and organized by staff and volunteers of the Northwest Montana History Museum. Proceeds benefit the Northwest Montana History Museum and its preservation and presentation of regional history.

Buster Keaton busts out the detective work in “Sherlock, Jr.”

Movie Night at the Museum for May goes silent with Buster Keaton’s 1924 comedy film classic Sherlock, Jr. Considered by critics to be one of Keaton’s best, the film also features Kathryn McGuire, Joe Keaton, and Ward Crane. The movie screens 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 23.

Keaton plays a movie theater projectionist and janitor who dreams of being a world-famous detective who wins the beautiful girl. This film, which was the first film solely directed by Keaton, is complete with Keaton’s trademark deadpan physical comedy, special effects and stunts as he makes fun of all detective films.

The American Film Institute has recognized Sherlock, Jr. by adding it to its list of the greatest film comedies of all time.

Admission and popcorn are free, but donations are gladly accepted. Soda pop, water, beer and wine are available for purchase. Seating is provided, but viewers are welcome to bring their own cushions or seating.

The Northwest Montana History Museum brings the past alive through exhibits, artifacts, educational programs, and events. Regular museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at 124 Second Ave. East, Kalispell. For information call 406-756-8381.