Heritage Museum celebrates 40 years

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A historic landmark welcomes visitors to the city of Libby in the Kootenai Valley. The Heritage Museum is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year with an opening day celebration Saturday, June 2.

It’s hard to miss the unique 12-sided, 130-foot diameter log structure when you come into town. The primary building was built in 1978 thanks to the hard work of hundreds of volunteers who felled the trees, peeled and chinked the logs and raised the roof. The project was funded by a variety of state and regional grants, local levies, assistance from a number of private businesses and donors and grassroots fundraising. Today, the museum receives thousands of visitors each summer.

Recently, the Miner’s Cabin on the museum grounds was given a new shake roof, funded by a grant from the Lincoln County Community Foundation, and constructed by a team of volunteers from the Libby Assembly of God Church.

Tammy Byrd, president of the museum’s board of directors wrote the Inter Lake to thank everyone that made the new roof possible after the cabin suffered some minor water damage due to the old roof leaking. Work on the roof began in 2017, however, last summer’s wildfires stymied progress and volunteers were unable to complete the work before winter weather set in.

The Foundation gave a six-month extension to the $794 grant and on April 28 two dozen volunteers from the Assembly of God Church — fortified with donuts — turned out and completed the new roof in one day.

Byrd also thanked Jim and Jeannie Brooks of Big Sky Lumber who donated the nails and discounted the purchase of supplies for the project, and Scott and Cindy Lapka of Empire Foods, who provided lunch.

The museum has planned a slate of special presentations for its June 2 season-opening celebration, which gets under way at 10 a.m. There will be a living history actor, a performance by the Old Town Opera House Theater cast, a presentation on historic barns and an art exhibit of Missoula artist Laura Blaker’s “Main Street Montana” project. Blaker has added Libby’s main street to her project and the painting will be featured at the anniversary celebration.

Flathead Electric’s Roundup for Safety program has put a smile on the face of Ian Bartling, wilderness program coordinator at Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp. Bartling sent us a note thanking the program for awarding the camp funds to purchase new high ropes safety gear. “Thanks Roundup, for all the ways you make our valley a safer place to live and play!” Bartling wrote.

Have a safe Memorial Day weekend and, whatever your plans, please take time to remember all the veterans who gave their lives while defending our country, and then say a prayer for peace.

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