Harlowton’s Railroad History

Central Montana is a mecca for folks interested in railroad history. Harlowton was the end of the electric train line and one of the electric engines stands proud watch over the town’s Central Avenue. You can see the “pan” or square-looking antenna-like gadget on top of the E-57B electric engine and that is what connected to make electricity above the train. Every time I’m in Harlowton with friends we use the E-57B as a backdrop for a photo. Today, … Read more

Step Back In Time

Fort Benton’s Ag Museum (technically called the State of Montana’s Museum of the Northern Great Plains) is truly a step back in time. During a visit to the museum you will travel in time from 1908 through 1980 – three generations of farming in Central Montana. The building is massive (30,000 square feet) and, if you are planning a stop in Fort Benton while on a Montana vacation, my advice is to allow plenty of … Read more

Interpretive Center Dedicated at Wahkpa Chu’gn

I’d like to start out by explaining how to say Wahkpa Chu’gn…it’s easiest to say Walk-pa Chew-gun. Learning how to spell it is a completely different story! I was at Wahkpa Chu’gn, a bison kill site also called a buffalo jump, the end of May. An interpretive center/visitor center was under construction and we were able to get a sneak preview. The final unveiling of the completed center was last Saturday and they’ve done a … Read more

Rudyard’s Depot Museum – Very Cool

We made a quick trip west on US Hwy 2 to visit the Rudyard Depot Museum the other day. Rudyard is between Chester and Havre and one of several small towns on this stretch of highway. The first thing that captivates many potential visitors to Rudyard is their sign along the highway – Rudyard: 596 Nice People, One Old Sorehead! I think the very bottom part says Rip Snorting and Raring for Business. In all truthfulness, … Read more

Transportation by Bull Boat

I stopped at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls, MT yesterday and visited with Nancy Fonicello who was cleaning an item called a bull boat. The boat was donated by Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) to the foundation that supports the Interpretive Center. Nancy is a conservator – her goal was to clean and assess the condition of the bull boat. She was wiping the entire boat with latex sponges using no cleaning fluids, … Read more

Good Times in Choteau

Four of us traveled northwest of Great Falls on US 89 last week. Our first stop was in Choteau. We met Al Wiseman, a local Metis, who works tirelessly to keep the history of this mixed blood race alive. Outside the Old Trail Museum (open seasonally Memorial Day – Labor Day) there is a replica of one of the Red River carts that many Metis used to carry their belongings. Quite a few Metis settled in … Read more

Browning Firearm Collection

The C. M. Russell Museum is thought of as an art museum and it’s certainly that and much more. The artist’s log studio filled with Native American artifacts is one of my favorites but I was also intrigued by the Browning Firearms Collection just off the main lobby of the museum. This collection used to be tucked away in a far corner in the basement – it is finally in a highly visible area of … Read more

Marias Museum’s New Clock

The newest exhibit at Shelby’s Marias Museum of History and Art is definitely “timely”. Last Tuesday evening the museum hosted an open house and dedication of a new clock display covering almost an entire wall. The first time I was ever at the Marias Museum of History and Art I was sure I was going in the wrong direction. The original museum is an entire home at 1129 1st Street North in Shelby’s residential district. I always tell people … Read more

C M Russell Museum – Always Impressive

I wouldn’t even venture to guess how many times I have been to the C. M. Russell Museum in Great Falls. Every time I visit the Russell I seem to learn something more about this amazing cowboy artist. Right now my favorite exhibit is The Bison: An American Icon. This photo shows the centerpiece of the exhibit but there are many other notable features. When you enter the exhibit you hear the thunder of bison hooves and it feels like the floor is vibrating … Read more

Plein Air Workshop at Russell Museum

The C. M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, MT was the site of a plein air painting workshop taught by area artist Tom Gilleon this past Monday and Tuesday. Tom is known for his incredibly high quality art works, most notably his teepees. And, that was the “model” for this week’s workshop. Monday’s weather forecast was an iffy one…it would have been a toss-up whether to cancel or set up someplace inside. An inside workshop … Read more