Museum Guide News
Museum Guide News
The Montana National Guard has always collected its history but no organized system of collections was instituted until 1980 when the members of the 103rd Public Information Detachment, later to become the 103rd Public Affairs Detachment, beginning reviewing items that had been donated by various Montana veterans to the Montana National Guard. Much of this was housed in the State Headquarters for the Montana National Guard located in the Arsenal Building, 110 North Main, Helena, Montana, and to a lesser degree in various location throughout the State at Armory sites and at Fort William Henry Harrison, the Montana National Guard's major training site located just west of Helena. In 1976 the first history of the Montana National Guard was published through the efforts of the Public Affairs Detachment. That history, called the The Montana Militia: A History of Montana's Volunteer Forces, 1867-1976, has served as the backdrop for the Montana Military Museum Collection efforts. In the Spring of 1980, then 103rd Public Affairs Commander, Brigadier (Captain) Harold “Hal” Stearns directed his unit to establish a History Section and to begin the process of organizing the boxes of artifacts and documents that were in the possession of the Montana National Guard. 103rd personnel instrumental in initiating the effort were SFC Kermit Edmonds, MSG C. Milo McLeod, Sgt Orlin Svingen, and 1st SGT Howard Anderson. Other personnel included Brigadier General Bill Yaeger, Major General John Womack, MG Jim Duffy, MG John E. "Gene" Prendergast, COL Howard McKinney, COL Joseph Upshaw, SGT Fred Naegele, SGM William E. "Pappy" Morrow, Col Ray Read, and others, stepped up to support, assist and contribute. The cast become hundreds if not thousands over the years. In the Summer of 1984 the 103rd PAD initiated a request based on their experiences at regional and National conferences host by the U.S. Army Center of Military History and the National Guard Bureau Public Affairs Division and it growing History branch. The Request was to establish a Historical Holding Activity within the Montana National Guard under the provisions of Army Regulations 870-20 entitled, Historical Activities, Army Museums, Historical Artifacts and Art and National Guard Regulation and National Guard Regulation 870-20 ARNG Museums, Activities, and Historical Property. The Request moved through the Office of the Adjutant General, who was at that time Major General Jim Duffy on up through National Guard Bureau PA (History) to the U.S. Army Center of Military History and its Museum Division. In November 1984 Montana received formal approval of its request and Montana National Guard Museum Activity now known as the Montana Military Museum programs and collection was born. The first entry in the Museum Register was done in late 1980. Those items are display today in the Museum. It is estimated that 12,000 plus records of items reside in the Museum. The collection covers the period from the American Revolution to the current military operations, with emphasis on the historical record of Montana's Military from the first the Lewis & Clark Expedition in 1804-1806, to current Operations in the Global War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. Kermit Edmonds, first Curator of Collections, in 1978, stated, “---that the collection of artifacts and information forms the heart of the Museum but the Record of that Collection is the Nervous system. I say that all items great and small need to be collected, conserved, and evaluated as they may be critical to our understanding of events that have had an effect on us in the past and present.” The Strength of Montana Military Museum Collection has led to the recent publishing the new Montana National Guard History, Splendid Service: A History of the Montana National Guard from 1867-2006. Though not the final publication on the subject of Montana Military history, it represents a step forward in our process. To be continued. Prepared by Raymond K. Read, Museum Director/Curator 2020
Founded in Wisconsin in 1961, the Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting has resided here in Phoenix since 1974 ,along East Van Buren near the Phoenix Zoo, the ASU baseball stadium (Phoenix Municipal) and the Salt River Project building. Devoted to preserving the history and traditions of the fire service, the museum is home to more than a hundred pieces of larger apparatus. Exhibits range from a basic English hand pumper built in 1725 to a spectacular hand pumper built in Philadelphia in 1844 that spent its career in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and a parade carriage built in New York in 1870 that represented the Hotchkiss Fire Department of Derby, Connecticut, but looks more like what Cinderella rode to the ball in. From the era of the motorized fire engine, there’s a 1919 Mack bulldog army truck converted into a fire truck by the fire department of Baltimore, Maryland by the addition of a previously horse-drawn ladder wagon and a chemical cart. The Hall of Flame is home FDNY’s Rescue 4, which responded to the World Trade Center in Manhattan on September 11, 2001, and whose entire crew was lost in that disaster. Another emotional exhibit is one of the two transport buggies which carried the Granite Mountain Hotshots of Prescott, Arizona to the Yarnell Hill Fire of 2013, resulting in the loss of 19 members of that crew. The Hall of Flame has a video theater, also home to a fine collection of antique helmets from around the world; a Hall of Heroes memorializing firefighters who have died in the line of duty or been decorated for bravery, and a wildland gallery devoted to smokejumpers, hotshots and firefighting aviation. There’s a hand-on children’s activity area, and, in Gallery 2, possibly the museum’s most well-loved piece: a 1951 American La France from Miami, Arizona that kids (and grown-ups) can climb aboard and play on. New exhibits have been added since the closure for the COVID-19 pandemic, including a display depicting the evolution of EMS equipment in the Hall of Heroes, a display on the firefighting comic strip Smokey Stover, and an 8-to-1 scale model of a 1933 Ahrens-Fox C-T-4 pumper. At the entryway to Galleries 3 and 4 is a new computer station allowing quick and easy access to information on the Hall of Flame’s 7,000-strong collection of firefighting arm patches. Along with these improvements, the Hall of Flame has also been attempting to increase its virtual profile, by presenting the collection through the Hall of Flame YouTube Channel, offering both video “tours” of many of the most prominent exhibits, and by continuing its educational mission with many story time videos of classic firefighting children’s stories like No Dragons for Tea, Hercules, Bravest of All, among many others. Some of these stories, notably Curious George and the Firefighters and Pink Fire Trucks, are available in Spanish as well. These videos are available for free on the Hall of Flame Museum’s YouTube Channel, as a homeschooling option in history or science. www.hallofflame.org
(Fredericksburg, Texas) -- The National Museum of the Pacific War (NMPW), located in Fredericksburg, Texas, invites the community to join themselves, Admiral Nimitz Foundation and Texas Historical Commission in commemorating Memorial Day 2020 from their homes with a special day of virtual programming. Following precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), state guidelines and the museum’s own guidelines, the annual public gathering in honor of Memorial Day will move from its traditional location in the Memorial Courtyard to the web. NMPW will not miss the opportunity to honor and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Programming will feature a brief welcome by Michael Hagee, retired General (US Marine Corp) and CEO of the Admiral Nimitz Foundation, a short keynote by president of Gold Star Mothers of Texas/Oklahoma, Cindy Martin, “Taps,” performed by Bill Smallwood, and a video montage. This programming is free to access and will air at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 25. Details on how to access the program will be posted on the museum’s blog on or about May 22.
BLUE MOUNTAIN LAKE, NY… Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake (ADKX) is celebrating its 61st season with the new interactive exhibition exploring the spirit, history, culture, and people of the Adirondack region. Life in the Adirondacks is the largest permanent exhibition on ADKX’s stunning 121-acre campus. The immersive installation combines authentic objects from ADKX’s collections—including guide boats, vintage railway cars, and a aturalist’s cabin—and interpretative materials with leading-edge digital technologies and hands-on activities. ADKX is located in Adirondack Park, the largest protected natural area in the contiguous 48 states, comprising six million acres (one fifth of New York State) of forested mountains, pristine waterways, and 105 towns and villages. The new 19,000-square-foot installation, featuring over 300 artifacts, was five years in the making with the help of experts in museum design. The rich history of the Adirondacks is revealed through the stories of people who were drawn to the region, how it shaped those who came, and how it was shaped by them. Voices from indigenous Abenaki and Mohawk communities are a key part of the narrative. The installation also explores the natural splendor of the area, conservation efforts, recreational opportunities, and regional industries. “Life in the Adirondacks” continues ADKX’s proud tradition of our cutting-edge visitor engagement program established by the museum’s founder, Harold K. Hochschild, six decades ago,” said ADKX Executive Director David M. Kahn. “Just as we embraced modern devices available in the 1950s, the new installation provides visitors of all ages with the latest technologies and tools to enjoy a fully immersive, multi-faceted experience of the Adirondacks. Visitors may continue their indoor/outdoor journey ofdiscovery at our other thematic exhibitions, on nature walks, and by participating in our diversity of programs.” Life in the Adirondacks begins with a video in the Wilderness Stories Theater, introducing visitors to the beauty of Adirondack Park and themes explored throughout the installation. “Call of the Wilderness” presents the wide variety of individuals, past and present, who came to the Adirondacks including Verplanck Colvin, who oversaw the first reliable survey of the region in the 19th century; Theodore Roosevelt, who learned he’d become the 26th President while vacationing in the Park in 1901; conservationist and outdoorsman Clarence Petty; and American artist Frank Owen. Canoes, stage coaches, a train car, a station wagon, and snow mobile are on display and visitors may tour a private railroad station and Pullman car, with audio soundscapes, that once transported millionaires with L&N Railroad executives like August Belmont, Austin Carin, and Henry Walters. Visitors can also sit in a real guide boat, learn to row it, and virtually glide across an Adirondack lake. For the first time in the Museum’s history, the habitation of Mohawk and Abenaki people within the Adirondacks is explored. “A Peopled Wilderness” uses artifacts, video interviews, music, a language-learning station, and stories of contemporary indigenous people. This section was produced by ADKX in collaboration with the Akwesasne Cultural Center and the Abenaki Cultural Preservation Corporation. One of the iconic features of the Adirondacks is the Great Camps built at the turn of the 20th century for wealthy urban vacationers looking for a wilderness experience but with modern comforts. “Roughing It” features the stories of those who instead came to settle or escape urban plagues like tuberculosis. The log cabin of Anne LaBastille, an author and naturalist who championed the pioneering life for women, is on display. Using its expansive collection of artifacts related to outdoor work (including a snow roller, ice saw, and jam boat), the ADKX presents the stories of Adirondackers working in the wilderness in “Adirondack Tough.” Among the occupations examined are historic underground iron mining and today’s open-pit garnet mining. An interactive activity allows visitors to virtually break up a log jam and understand first-hand how treacherous it was to be a lumberjack in the late 19th century. Work like maple sugaring and ice harvesting are also represented. A section on the history of Adirondack Park features a giant walk-on map of the region. A multi-screened media experience gives voice to the many different perspectives of people who live, work, and visit the Adirondacks today including those employed in forest management, water quality, and protecting the natural environment. For additional information, call 518-352-7311 or visit www.theADKX.org.