With all of the festivities I have come to expect, the community of Fort Benton opened a new section in the reconstructed Old Fort Benton.
Last weekend seemed a bit cool and rainy but inside the reconstructed fort the fire was cracklin’, people were mingling and some were dressed in their finest fur-trade era decor.
The newest building in the fort is called the Bourgeois House (I pronounce it boo-shway) and that’s close to correct! The bourgeois basically ran the fort. This section has two levels – the main floor houses the Starr Gallery of Western Art and upstairs shows the living quarters of Alexander Culbertson, the fort’s bourgeois.
In the Starr Gallery you can see Bob Scriver’s No More Buffalo collection, an original portrait of Alexander Culbertson painted by John Mix Stanley and rare Karl Bodmer prints from the Swiss painter. The Bodmer prints reflect scenery and Indian cultures as they were in the 1830’s. Yes, that’s 1830’s!
The Bodmer prints are my favorite and they are beautifully displayed. The Starr Gallery is in contrast the other side of the fort where things are rustic and just what you’d expect in a fort dating back to the 1800’s. Both are incredibly interesting and add up to another stunning attraction in the historic community of Fort Benton.