2019 John White Speaker Series at The Museum at Central School

Beginning on Sunday, January 13th, at 2:00pm and continuing every other week through February 24th, the Museum at Central School in Kalispell presents four unique and engaging speakers.

The 17th annual series features programs on the Lewis and Clark Expedition; the 1917 Speculator-Granite Mountain mining disaster; Mary Fields, the first female African American Star Route mail carrier in the United States; and the truth behind the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown.

JANUARY 13: The travels of Whitefish-based singer-songwriter David Walburn have taken him to Alaska and beyond, but always returning to his home in Big Sky Country. With his guitar and harmonica in tow, David takes inspiration right from the history of Montana. He will be performing tracks off of his album West for America, all about the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

JANUARY 27: The Speculator-Granite Mountain was the largest hard rock mining disaster in American history, killing 168 men in Butte, Montana in June, 1917. But when told by author and psychologist Doug Ammons, it is actually a story of the resilience of the human spirit when men are suddenly thrust into life and death situations far beyond their control.

FEBRUARY 10: A 2018 choice for the Oprah Book Club, Deliverance tells the true story of Mary Fields, a determined former slave who braved the harsh Montana Rockies on a journey to rescue a dying friend, helping all of those around her as she set up a new life for herself in the American West. Just in time for Black History Month, author Miantae Metcalf McConnell visits the Museum to share her research methods and more stories about this remarkable woman.

FEBRUARY 24: Returning to the Series for the fifth consecutive year, living history performer Mary Jane Bradbury will explore the legend that formed around “The Unsinkable Molly” Brown, a social reformer in the early twentieth century. But from her name on down, Brown’s life was largely written by the press, obscuring a remarkable woman who was quite different than the popular story.


The John White Speaker Series honors beloved Central School bell ringer and custodian John White, the son of a Texas slave, who served at Central School for over 30 years. He knew all the students, and they knew and respected him, as did the citizens of Kalispell in the 1920s through the 50s. John White graduated from Flathead County High School in 1922 and became perhaps the most remembered figure in the history of Central School.

All four presentations are at 2:00 PM on alternate Sundays in January and February at the Museum at Central School, 124 2nd Ave E. in Kalispell.

Tickets for Museum members are $20 for the series of all four, or $6 for any single event. General public tickets are $30 for the series, or $9 for any single event. Tickets are available at the Museum, Monday through Friday, 10 to 5, or at the door before each event. Last year's Series broke attendance records, so advanced purchase is recommended. Call 406-756-8381 for more information.

Two New Exhibitions at the Museum at Central School

October 26th through Spring 2019

For the next half year or so, Your Museum will be home to a brand new exhibition from talented local artist Crystal Johnson. The exhibition, entitled Glacier Going Back: A Retrospective of People in the Park, is being shown for the first time at the Museum at Central School and offers something for everyone, utilizing multiple mediums to frame a time and place of local and national significance.

Of all her interests as an artist, Crystal most enjoys painting from life, and with Glacier Going Back incorporated that skill into depicting a life long past, but a life still incredibly important in the cultural history of the Park. Primarily painting from historic photos as references, the artist’s work blends the historic importance of the subjects with the colors, textures, and styles that only a gifted painter can achieve. Crystal’s motivation with this exhibit was to introduce the photographs and the stories behind them to a brand new audience and in a brand new light: it is clear from the images at right, as well as all 16 featured in the exhibit, that she has succeeded.

The opening reception for this wonderful exhibit will be on Friday, October 26th from 5 to 7 pm at Your Museum. The evening is free and open to the public, museum galleries will be open, refreshments will be served, and a cash bar will be available. This is a unique and exciting exhibition, aesthetically presenting history in an artistic style, and neither the exhibit nor the opening reception are to be missed, so mark your calendar!

But wait, there’s more! At the very same time as Glacier Going Back, Your Museum is proud to debut Toy Stories: Toys of the Past and Other Fun Objects from the Collection of the Northwest Montana Historical Society. Just in time for the Christmas season, this exhibit features all manner of fun and games from over the decades, making even the biggest curmudgeon among us feel like a kid on Christmas morning. Everyone will have the chance to check out toys from the past and hopefully have some fun as well at the exhibit’s hands-on table (don’t worry, no age limits on the hands-on table). This exhibit will be up well through the holidays, but with the Atari hooked up and ready to go, October 26 figures to be an exciting day for the Museum in more ways than one. Hope to see you there!

Montana Film Festival Roadshow Rolls Back into Town with Wildlife

Friday, January 11, 7 pm

We had so much fun hosting the Montana Film Festival the last two years that we have been waiting for a chance to make it three in a row. Well, the wait is finally over! On Friday, January 11th, at 7pm, we will be showing the acclaimed drama Wildlife, set and Great Falls and filmed in Livingston.

14-year-old Joe is the only child of Jeanette and Jerry—a housewife and a golf pro—in a small town in 1960s Montana. Nearby, an uncontrolled forest fire rages close to the Canadian border, and when Jerry loses his job—and his sense of purpose—he decides to join the cause of fighting the fire, leaving his wife and son to fend for themselves. Suddenly forced into the role of an adult, Joe witnesses his mother’s struggle as she tries to keep her head above water.

Actor Paul Dano makes an impressive debut as a filmmaker and—along with co-writer Zoe Kazan—elegantly adapts Richard Ford’s novel of the same name. Carey Mulligan delivers one of her finest performances as a complex woman whose self-determination and self-involvement disrupts the values and expectations of the 1960s nuclear family. With precise details and textures of its specific time and place, Wildlife commits to the viewpoint of a teenage boy observing the gradual dissolution of his parents’ marriage.

As of this writing, this will be your only chance to see this film in Kalispell! If that wasn’t enough, Executive Director of the Montana Institute for the Arts Travis Bruyer, who was involved in the production of Wildlife, will be introducing the film. Tickets are $10, and will only be available at the Museum at Central School. This is a one time only event, and if history is any indication, it will be well-attended, so get here early! Buying tickets in advance at the Museum is also encouraged. Proceeds from ticket sales are split equally between the Montana Film Festival and the Northwest Montana Historical Society. As always, beer, wine, and pop will be available to purchase.

Historic Film Club

Free Admission! Free Popcorn!
Wednesday, January 22nd, 7:00 pm - Groundhog Day (1993)

Bill Murray plays cold - fronted weatherman Phil Connors in this hilarious cult classic from director and frequent Murray collaborator Harold Ramis. In the film, Phil dreads his occupational annual pilgrimage to a small Pennsylvania town to cover Groundhog Day, feeling it is beneath him. So it is perhaps ironic that Phil gets stuck in an endless time loop, re-living February 2nd in Punxsutawney over and over again, with no idea how to make it stop. The only silver lining is that the repetition gives Phil plenty of time to win the heart of his producer Rita (Andie MacDowell).

History Book Club

Wednesday, February 6, 2:00 pm
The Watershed Years
Russell Rowland

This is the long-awaited sequel to Rowland’s highly aclaimed first novel, In Open Spaces. Follow the Arbuckle family through years of troubles, trials, and triumphs as they struggle to hold their Montana ranch - and their family - together. In this dramatic story, brothers and wives turn against each other as they struggle with greed, deceit, and murder.

In Open Spaces received excellent reviews (The Atlantic Monthly, Publishers Weekly, and more), made several best-book lists, and was praised by Ivan Doig, Guy Vanderhaeghe, and others. The Watershed Years may be even better. Long after finishing this book, readers will still be remembering its sharply drawn characters and their unexpected fates.

Quilting Club and Classes

The Museum at Central School is once again pleased to see the annual return of our quilting club! The club is free and open to the public. Beginning on Wednesday, September 5th, the club will meet every other Wednesday through November from 1 to 4 pm at Your Museum.

Anybody interested can attend any or all weeks at no charge. Participants can be complete beginners or experienced quilters looking to learn tips and new skills for projects, or looking for fellowship with fellow quilters. Fabric swatches and some tools are provided, although participants should feel free to bring scissors, straight pins, and anything else they would like to use.

The club and workshop is led by local quilter and Museum volunteer Betty Jo Malone. Any questions can be directed to Betty Jo at 406-755-6323.