Visitors are amazed to walk into an old barn to find historic displays in the original horse stalls. Collections provided by local residents depict life, events and resources found in the surrounding area in years past. The historic barn was moved, log by log, a few years ago from where it was built in 1929 so that history of the area could be preserved, and people could get current information at the visitor center.
Many visitors find themselves renewing fond memories. Most are treated to a individualized showing of the museum. Local and part-time residents remember attending barn dances and weddings. Visitors reminisce about taking pack trips into the wilderness with C.B. Rich starting from the barn. A surprising number of people tell stories of having worked in the barn, remembering the tack room, climbing the ladder to the hay loft, doctoring sick horses, horseshoeing, etc. First time visitors find the displays enchanting and are impressed by the contrast between the authentic old barn downstairs and the modern visitor center office and conference room upstairs.
The main themes for the museum display areas are: old schools, logging, seasonal residents, Native American, outfitters, and natural resources. Artifacts, replicas, photos, documents, stories, and other items are available for viewing.
The Visitor Center offers local information about regional and local businesses. Dozens of handouts give detailed information about public outdoor recreational opportunities in the big backyard. The Visitor Center staff has completed the Super Host training provided by the Montana Commerce Department. Official Montana road maps and State tourism information are provided.
The upstairs hayloft has been transformed into a modern office and conference room in contrast to the authentic downstairs, available for meetings, receptions and special events. Call Gary at 406-677-2464.
The facility is owned and managed by a non-profit group composed of members from five organizations representing the community.
The museum is operated by the Seeley Lake Historical Society which is a non-profit organization, dedicated to increasing knowledge and understanding of the history of the Seeley-Swan Valley.
In addition to regular hours the museum is open during many of the special events and for groups by special arrangement all year.