The other day I visited Chinook’s Blaine County Museum. I’ve been there many times and each time I find something else that gets on to my “favorites” list.
We began with the impressive multi-media presentation titled “40 Miles From Freedom”, a flash back in history to a time when the US Cavalry had an effort to round up all Native Americans and put them on reservations.
I get such a sad feeling every time I watch this presentation.
To preface the battle scene the video gives a description of the weather – cold winds, probably the area’s first fall snowstorm and the location is near the foothills of the Bear Paw Mountains.
The Nez Perce group being chased by the US military includes men, women and children. They had been trying to out-run the cavalry and get to Canada, and safety. The site of the last battle is 40 miles from the US/Canada border.
During the multi-media presentation the battle rages and ultimately ends with Chief Joseph’s final words – I will fight no more, forever. Chief Joseph wasn’t a warring chief anyway so the poignant words definitely make a lasting impression on the viewer.
After watching the presentation we went downstairs in the museum. My favorite room there is part of their dinosaur and fossil exhibit and it is where you can actually touch the fossils. That’s a great opportunity for children, well, adults too!
Back on the main floor of the Blaine County Museum I took some photos of the dinosaur exhibit.
This facility is on the Montana Dinosaur Trail, an organized effort to link all of our museums in the state that have significant paleontology exhibits. You can even purchase a MT Dinosaur Trail passport that each museum will stamp when you visit. Central Montana has six different locations on the Montana Dinosaur Trail.
You can also see two of cowboy artist Charlie Russell’s illustrated letters in the museum.
Native American displays are beautiful showing tribal clothing with amazing beadwork.
The cowboy room is painted a vivid red color and that enhances the appearance of the leather saddles, tack and cowboy gear.
If you plan to visit the museum during your Montana vacation, be sure to allow enough time. There are many treasured exhibits that give a glimpse into life as it used to be in Blaine County.