On entering the Glasgow Pioneer Museum, you are confronted with a full size tee pee, probably 12 feet at the base and 15 feet tall. It is made of sewn together elk skins and once belonged to an Assiniboine Chief, one of the major tribes in this area.
Chief First To Fly and many of his tribe’s beautiful feathered headdresses, tools, clothing and pictures are gathered here in what I’d rate as an excellent museum.
A sample of their beauty.
The museum is good about telling stories of some of the people’s experiences. This is an artist rendering of Pigeon’s Egg Head, a warrior who went to Washington and then what he looked like when he returned with his head full of grand ideas and impractical clothing.
Cases of buffalo bones as well as an almost complete dinosaur vertebrae are displayed here.
Remembering my history of how white hunters set out to obliterate the plains Indian’s food supply by savagely slaughtering every buffalo they could is such a sad and cruel part of our history. But when you see the pictures it is a sickening tragedy made real.
At one time, Eastern Montana prairie was white with bleached buffalo bones where ever you walked or rode.
Pioneers trucked millions of bones to the Great Northwestern Railroad where Charles Aubrey of Missouri turned them into fertilize. He paid scavengers $24 a ton for the bones. Before he quit in 1886, he paid out $40,000,000 to scavengers for his fertilizer plant. When I think how many millions of dollars go to Africa for tourists to see the amazing animal migrations, and to think we had the same type of migration right here from Southern Canada to South Texas, the loss is compounded.
Stan’s Bar found its way into the museum.
As in old western movies, men stepped up to the bar, one foot on a rail. No classy seating arrangements. You drank your whiskey standing up.
The bar came with two walls of stuffed trophies. Whenever anyone new entered the bar, Stan would say, “Did you bring your checkbook?” He had many offers to sell parts of his collection, but he wanted it to stay together and he’d say, “It all goes as one, the bar, the animals and my 70 rentals. You better have a deep pocketbook.” Whoever did his taxidermy was very talented.
A scarce wolverine. Stan’s collection has two of them.
Unfortunately, a huge collection of hats that belonged to Dazee Kellerher, are behind glass, almost impossible to photograph.
Newspapers found her hats newsworthy as she aged, about every ten years, they’d do another pictorial on her hats. Her reputation was that she never went anywhere without a hat. What a character.
Trying on a few old hats and viewing yourself in a mirror was such a hoot. A drawer held about 25 hats, some were stunningly ugly but I gave it a go.
The Pioneer Museum takes you through several layers of history. The Indians, the cowboys, the sheepherders, the settlers-all well done. So much to see here, to do it right, you need a full day. The Museum, some outdoor exhibits and a nearby house are all part of the Museum Complex. The sheep herders camper depicted an era when Montana’s economy depended more on sheep than cattle.
Some interesting paintings and western artists are featured here.
Outside, a windmill typical of those used on the plains. This one was donated by the Docent’s family. Thoroughly enjoyable, not to miss if you pass this way.