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A look at earlier days of Great Falls is on display at the History Museum

Ashleigh McCann, collections curator at the History Museum
"Western Frontier: Josef Dvorak Miniatures" at the History Museum
"Western Frontier: Josef Dvorak Miniatures" at the History Museum
Posted at 8:55 AM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-15 10:55:01-04

GREAT FALLS — If you’re interested in seeing what Great Falls looked like at the turn of the 20th century, a new exhibit opened several days ago that you may want to check out.

There are seven miniature models of Great Falls buildings, along with photographs and artifacts from the time period. The exhibit is called "Western Frontier: Josef Dvorak Miniatures."

The C.M. Russell Museum commissioned the models in 1976 to celebrate the nation’s bicentennial. They were on display there for years, then sent to the History Museum for storage.

The History Museum website says: "With assistance from supporters of the Museum, the models were commissioned from master craftsman Josef Dvorak. Scale models of historic Great Falls buildings were created by the artist and the collection was affectionately referred to by many as 'Old Town.' Why these buildings in specific were chosen to be depicted is not known, but their placement together illustrates that Great Falls was founded with high aspirations."

"Folks may recognize the Park Hotel and the opera house model. Those have been on display for the past couple of years, but the other models have been safely tucked away out of light in storage where they've been kept safe but they really haven't been seen. So we're really excited to highlight them now and to get the whole group back together to kind of see what it was meant to look like,” explained collections curator Ashleigh McCann.

As of Wednesday, there was no set end date for the display, but McCann said it would likely be available for about six months.

Admission to the History Museum, located at 422 2nd Street South, is free. It is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from noon until 5 p.m. It is also open on the second Saturday of each month from noon until 5 p.m. For more information, click here to visit the website, or call 406-452-3462.