Every year the local museums come together and offer the Sunday Sampler, offering free access for the afternoon. Ten different museums participated this year allowing families to take in the preserved heritage that we have here in central Montana. The unseasonably warm weather this past Sunday proved inviting for may Central Montana families, including mine.
My family and I met up with the Ground family of Great Falls, and together we spent the afternoon taking in the sights at three of the ten featured museums. This year’s list of participating museums was long and distinguished so it took some time deciding which museums would have the privilege of the Russell and Ground Sampler Expedition.
The first stop on the Russell and Ground Sampler Expedition was First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park, located in Ulm, Montana Just a short drive south of Great Falls. 342 Ulm Vaughn Road Ulm, MT 59485 This was the first time either family had been to this park. We started out with an introduction to the park provided by Jake McCoy the Park Ranger and Naturalist. Jake shared the story of the Buffalo Jump and its importance to the First Peoples generations in supplying their needs. We learned that the Buffalo Jump was used from 900 AD to 1500 AD according to carbon dated artifacts that were found at the park. The visitor has a “please touch” policy for the items on display allowing children and adults to have a real hands on learning experience. The kids were allowed to try on animal skins and pretend that they were on the hunt for the buffalo. The park offers a 3.5 mile hiking trail that has 16 different important landmarks that you can learn about with the trail map that is available at the visitor’s center. The trail also offers the perfect afternoon picnic opportunity for your family outing. Vehicle access is also available to the top of the Buffalo Jump allowing easy access to the view if you are not quite up for a hike. First Peoples Buffalo State Park is offering the First Peoples Game Day on May 19,2012 For more information on this program and other activities at the park, please contact Jake McCoy (406)866-2217 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org he will be happy to answer any questions you have about the park.
The second stop on the Russell and Ground Sampler Expedition was the Montana Museum of Railroad History. This museum has a lot to offer for the railroad enthusiast. From model train cities to a Real Caboose there is much to see and lean about. Hidden in the Montana State Expo Park the 400 3rd St. NW. Great Falls, MT 59404. The Museum is packed with priceless information that shares the history and the impact of the railroad on our great Treasure State. I loved the landscape of the miniature railroad; it offers a scale landscape model of the countryside surrounding Great Falls. The first railroad construction in Montana began just 75 years after Lewis and Clark as part of the expedition to the Pacific Ocean. When asked what their favorite part about their trip to the Montana Museum of Railroad History they said the Caboose. They were able to go inside climb up to the lookout windows and just have fun. For more information on this museum please call Dean (406)453-6303 or write to: MMRH P.O. Box 3483 Great Falls, MT 59403
The Third and final stop on the Russell and Ground Sampler Expedition was the Malmstrom Air Force Base Museum. Located just outside the main gate of Malmstrom Air Force Base 21 77th St. North, Suite 144 Malmstrom AFB, MT 59402 This museum was a hit with the boys of the group both young and old. The museum offers an outside field of display with many different kinds of aircraft as well as retired Minutemen II missile that was decommissioned in 1995. Inside the visitors center the history of Malmstrom AFB comes alive. There is a Video that explains the history and information of the 341 Missile Wing The video was very informative and provided a demonstration of the Minutemen III missile that is the current focus of the Malmstrom mission. The kids enjoyed being able to peer inside the history of a launch facility and learn about the history of Malmstrom and the different missions they have had over the years, including the assembly of more than 8,000 B-25 bombers during WWII. For more information on visiting this museum please contact Malmstrom AFB Museum 341 Missile Wing/MU 21 77th St. North, Suite 144 Malmstrom AFB, MT 59402 (406) 731-2705 Free and open to the public Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call for Weekend and Holiday hours
The Sampler proved to be a great day for family and friends to come together for a great time and learn about the history of the great state of Montana and our local community. Jake at Fist Peoples Buffalo Jump said that they see an average of 23,000 visitors to the park each year but their busiest day of the year is the Sunday Sampler. We are blessed to live in a state that has so much to offer our families. Get outside and enjoy our big sky.