March 1, 2021
by Western Heritage Center
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Western Heritage Center and 120 years since the Parmly Billings Memorial Library Building opened. To celebrate, the Western Heritage Center will reopen to the public with two new exhibits on March 3rd, 2021.
“It’s our anniversary,” said Lauren Hunley, Community Historian. “We want to highlight some great pieces from our community’s expansive story and the Center’s permanent collection.”
The new exhibits, The Story of Us: A History of Billings in 25 Stories and How We Work: Understanding the Western Heritage Center feature some unique objects, some never before on public display.
The Story of Us: A History of Billings in 25 Stories explores the diverse history of Billings through the stories of 25 objects including Frederick Billings’ personal briefcase, an original 1879 Montana Territorial map, and an early sugar bag from the Great Western Sugar Company.
“We even spotlight more recent stories,” shared Hunley. “The exhibit includes a 1993 menorah from Congregation Beth Aaron and a 2020 COVID-19 Montana Mask designed by local inventors.”
The second exhibit opening March 3rd is How We Work: Understanding the Western Heritage Center. It offers a behind-the-scenes look at how the Western Heritage Center shares the story of the Yellowstone River Valley, exploring how the Center creates new exhibits, develops outreach programming, and cares for nearly 40,000 historic objects in its permanent collection. As an interactive experience, visitors can suggest new exhibit ideas, vote on new museum objects, and browse some of the 25,000 historic photographs in the museum collection. The exhibit will be open through September 2021.
The Center is also carrying over two exhibits from before the closure. Saints & Sinners: Women Breaking Tradition will be available until May 1st, and With Wit & Style: Ethel Hays, Cleverest Girl Artist in America will be open through May 29th.
For more information about exhibits and events, please see www.ywhc.org or call 406-256-6809.
The Western Heritage Center’s mission is to collect, preserve, and share the stories of the people and places of the Yellowstone River Valley and the Northern High Plains.