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The New Exhibit at the Montana Historical Society

Selena Goddard, Head Writer

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Two of the most popular outdoor pastimes in Montana are hunting and fishing. The Montana Historical Society is currently featuring exhibits on both. The newest of the two is the “Hooked on Fishing” exhibit which highlights the history of fishing in Montana. The exhibit opened in January and is expected to close spring of 2018.

According to Margarete Ordon, the Curator of History at the Historical Society, the inspiration behind creating the exhibit,“came from a desire to highlight Montana’s outdoor heritage.” In presenting that heritage, the exhibit “Big Game, Big Stories: Montana’s Hunting Heritage” is also on display at the Historical Society.

Since fishing is such a big part of Montana life, Kendra Newhall, the Registrar for the Historical Society, said the exhibit is important to Montanans because “the exhibit highlights the allure of Montana waters, which bring family and friends together in idyllic settings… [which are] actively preserved by Montanans.” According to the Historical Society, the exhibit “will also highlight how Montanans, including the state’s Fish Wildlife and Parks agency, preserve the state waters to ensure that these fishing adventures can continue… [and it will] explore tribal lifeways and knowledge; family ties and communities around fishing; as well as the art and craft of tools, flies, and canoes.”

As an important feature to the fishing community, Newhall commented that it has been “well received by the public;” Ordon added that “visitors have especially enjoyed a chance to view rods used by the Maclean family! The canoe has also caught a lot of people’s attention with its impressive size and construction!”

That particular canoe is over 150 years old and was used by the Nez Perce tribe. Newhall stated that “Although it is typical of what Nez Perce peoples used while fishing, this particular canoe was used primarily as a ferry on the Flathead River.” It was also partially crafted by Chief Joseph’s youngest brother.

Like most of the artifacts, the canoe is from the Historical Society’s collection. The rest of the items featured are from private lenders.

So, if fishing is an activity you enjoy or Montana’s history interests you, come see the “Hooked on Fishing” exhibit at the Montana Historical Society.

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