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


Oral History Presentation and Book Launch at Your Museum


phe·nom·e·nol·o·gy (n): the science of phenomena as distinct from that of the nature of being. If that sounds fun, it is only one of the many topics that Yuvonne Brooks, Ed.D., will be exploring as she launches the oral history collection Montana Cowboy: Walter B. Woodcock at 6pm on July 27th at Your Museum. As the title suggests, the collection is full of stories straight from Walter about his life and profession primarily in the 1930s. Woodcock was also a gifted illustrator, as the book is full of original drawings, such as the one at right. In addition to exploring Woodcock’s storied past, Dr. Brooks will delve into the oral history process, from finding your voice as a storyteller to the transition process between being an active listener and being a writer.

The presentation is free and open to the public, so if you have always been curious about oral history and want to learn more about the historic process, don’t forget to put this great event on your calendar.


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, July 30, 7pm – Buster’s Mal Heart

A psychological thriller with so many twists and turns I am hesitant to try and summarize it, lest I befuddle the audience or accidentally give away the plot. The sophomore effort from director Sarah Adina Smith stars Rami Malek in the titular role and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2016. Normally a two year time gap is too short to qualify for historic film status, but Buster’s Mal Heart has local significance: the movie was almost entirely filmed in Kalispell and the surrounding area, and includes pivotal scenes at locations such as The Outlaw Inn and Johnson – Gloschat Funeral Home.
Conrad Mansion Assistant Director Brit Clark, a production assistant during the filming of Buster’s Mal Heart, will introduce the movie and answer audience questions.

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