This last year, we lost Ed Morrow, who had been our Collections Curator for some time. “Pappy” as he was known, held much of the corporate knowledge about our collections, and while he willingly shared this with us, much of that knowledge went with him. Currently we are working hard to inventory and catalog all the items we have, and those we receive each week. One of the great things we are starting to use, is a museum database called Past Perfect, which will allow us to catalog and find items quickly.
This is important because we have a wealth of materials, from weapons to clothing, boots to hats, photographs to paintings and documents to books and newspapers. The majority of these items reflect the Military History of Montana, but we also have other items which cover other events. Perhaps the two biggest items in our collections are those of the First Special Service Force, or the “Devils Brigade”, and those of the 163rd Infantry Division who fought in the Pacific. We are currently working on objects and histories from Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf wars. These areas are ones where we lack items and stories, and would be greatly appreciative of anyone who would like to donate items or stories.
One thing we feel strongly about is the story that goes with an item. Too often we get just an item, say a canteen. A canteen is just a canteen, but a canteen with a story of how it saved Uncle Bill’s life by deflecting a bullet gives the object life, and that is really what history is all about. It “personalizes” the object, and makes it come alive.
Although we are all volunteers, one thing we all share is a passion for history. One of our goals is to eventually set up a research library and area for those who would like to do research on the Military history of Montana.
So please, if you are out by the Ft. Harrison National Guard base some Thursday, stop in and see us. Currently we are open from 10:00 till 4:00pm. We have hopes that soon in the future we will be extending those days and hours. Meanwhile, keep an eye on this website since we will be posting various pictures, stories, and photos of objects in our collection on it.
YOUR DONATIONS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.