Where History Happens Every Day!

The Museum is housed in the historic Central School building, which first opened its doors in 1894. In nearly 100 years of serving the educational needs of the Flathead Valley, Central School had been a high school, a junior high school, a grade school, and housed classrooms for Flathead Valley Community College.

Today Central School carries on its educational tradition as a museum preserving and presenting local history.

Currently at the Museum


9th Annual Taste of Kalispell on June 21st!

One of the “Can’t Miss” events of the Flathead Valley is the “Taste of Kalispell” coming Thursday, June 21, 5:30 to 8 PM on the big lawn at the Museum at Central School in Kalispell. Brought to you by our Title Sponsor Eisinger Motor Group and our friends Gretchen and Mike Apgar, this event is an opportunity to join your neighbors for an evening of good food, drink, music and company, all while discovering the many restaurants and businesses that make this community great.
With everything included in the price of admission, those attending will be able to sample food, drink, products and services from local restaurants and businesses. You will be entertained with live Latin jazz from Cocinando during the evening.
Tickets will be available at The Kalispell Visitors Center, Kalispell Grand Hotel, The Flathead Beacon and the Museum at Central School. The tickets are $30 for adults, $20 youth 11-14, and kids 10 and under, free. Admission ticket includes food, beer and wine samples, live music, a kid’s zone and a chance to win great prizes including a new bicycle donated by Wheaton’s Cycle.
The entire event is a wonderful way to enjoy a pleasant evening while supporting the Museum at Central School and your downtown community


Museum at Central School Open Saturdays! Free Guided Tour! 

Summer  2018

During the summer of 2018, the Museum at Central School in beautiful downtown Kalispell will be expanding its hours and will be open from 10am to 3pm every Saturday! The Northwest Montana Historical Society is confident that these new hours will enable more people than ever to tour the Museum and will introduce the rich history of Northwest Montana to an entirely new group of visitors.

During this time, not only will all the galleries of the Museum be open for exploration, but hundreds of titles of Montana history and fiction (along with coffee and local craft sodas) will be available for purchase in the newly remodeled Schoolbell Bookstore. In addition to all of this, the Museum is happy to offer FREE docent-led tours every Saturday at noon for Museum guests. This tour will take visitors into every gallery, shedding light on some treasures of the collection and sharing stories that most Museum visitors never get to hear.


Then and Now Exhibit 

Through Fall 2018

Everywhere we look, we can’t help but see how the world has evolved, and is evolving still. Even our household goods, the things we use regularly in our everyday life, sometimes bear little resemblance to the earlier versions of “things” meant to serve the same purpose. Over a century after the end of the Industrial Revolution, common items are made and used more abundantly and more efficiently than ever before. And yet, even though today’s goods are more available and more affordable, there is little doubt that this  widespread availability has brought with it certain sacrifices.

Where as in the past something old may have been fixed and repaired whenever possible, and passed down to  future generations, it is now more common to simply discard and replace. Human beings have certainly adopted a mass-produced lifestyle, but not without the cost of a do-it-yourself mentality, an entrepreneurial spirit, a reliance on community partnerships, and a willingness to adapt. So please join us on this journey as we explore the roots of some of the most common items we use in our day-to-day lives. And as our society continues to grow, even some of the modern objects we carry with us at this very moment may eventually be bound for the halls of a museum such as this one.

 “James R. Bakke: True Montana Artist”

October 11th through September 2018

James R. Bakke: True Montana Artist**” contains over seventy five photographic images from the longtime-Flathead artist, some of which are being publicly displayed for the first time. Curated by Kalispell master photographer Bret Bouda, this exhibition portrays numerous subjects in the Flathead’s past, from farm life to industry to Glacier National Park, highlighting just how much the region has changed in a relatively short amount of time.

Better known as a painter, James Bakke was also a gifted photographer, capturing important moments in twentieth century history and breathtaking natural beauty. Although it can easily stand on its own, Bakke initially used his photography as a model for his paintwork, and we are very pleased to have some of his paintings on loan from the Stumptown Historical Society for this exhibition. We are excited to have the opportunity to show Bakke’s photography and paintings side by side, illuminating the artistic process and Bakke’s mastery of his craft.

  Historic Film Club

 All are welcome–FREE!
Monday, June 25, 7pm – Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

A buddy action movie with countless layers of deceptions and also a few laughs, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot follows the titular bank robbers (Eastwood and Bridges) who are originally thrown together by chance, but soon decide to team up for the biggest heist of their lives. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot was filmed entirely in Montana, specifically in Great Falls and the surrounding area. The role of Thunderbolt was written for Eastwood, making it somewhat ironic that the only Academy Award nomination the film received went to Bridges.
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot was the first film for director Michael Cimino. Eastwood himself was originally signed on to direct it himself, but was impressed with Cimino upon meeting him. The critical and commercial success of Thunderbolt and Lightfoot led to more films for Cimino, most notably the 1978 Oscar winner The Dear Hunter (and perhaps more infamously, 1980s Heaven’s Gate).

There is no charge for the film, and donations will be accepted to help defray the cost of acquiring and showing the films. The movie and popcorn are free; wine, beer, pop and water will be for sale. Seating is provided, but film fans can bring their own floor pillows, portable chairs, or whatever is comfortable for viewing the film.

Summer 2018 Newsletter