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Special Exhibits


Our Forgotten Pioneers: The Chinese in Montana

Montana's Chinese: Our Forgotten Pioneers promises an unprecedented glimpse at a little understood chapter in Montana's past.  Forgotten Pioneers focuses upon the predominantly male Chinese that by 1870 comprised ten percent of Montana's territorial population.  These pioneers helped develop Montana's mineral resources and lay the tracks of the Northern Pacific across the Northwest.  They established settlements and businesses in urban areas, paid taxes, and provided services.  The male-only population, however, necessarily dwindled as Chinese sojourners returned to China or died here on foreign soil.  Their abandoned neighborhoods fell victim to urban renewal.  Their culture, never well understood, became the stuff of myth and legend.  The Montana Historical Society invites you to celebrate the opening of Montana's Chinese: Our Forgotten Pioneers at 5:00 PM, May 14.  The exhibit runs through May 2016.


Eloquence in Wood: The Art of John L. Clarke

Eloquence in Wood examines the artistic vision of a man who - as the result of childhood illness - could neither hear nor speak.  For Blackfeet artist John L. Clarke (Cutapuis), art was a tool for communication that he used powerfully and articulately.  Clarke was an avid outdoorsman who transformed his experiences observing wildlife, hunting, and fishing into lively sculptures and playful sketches.

The exhibition features sculptures, paintings, drawings, and letters of John L. Clarke (1881-1970) selected from Montana Historical Society Museum Collection, Glacier County Historical Society (GCHS) Museum Collection, and private collections.  The show also includes furniture and tools, on loan from GCHS, from Clarke's East Glacier studio where he created his masterful and playful sculptures of the region's wildlife.


Gold, Glory, and Rebellion: Montana and the Civil War

Gold, Glory, and Rebellion: Montana and the Civil War, curated by Rich Aarstad, portrays the political turmoil of Montana Territory's creation, which was swaddled in dreams of gold, glory, and rebellion.  While the new territory offered opportunities to amass wealth and power, Montana could not separate herself from the rebellion in the "states" that threatened to tear the nation apart.  Those who came here seeking riches, a second chance, or refuge brought with them the seeds of disunion, political partisanship, and self-righteous fury.