BILLINGS (AP) Nearly 100
people visited the Bair family
ranch home in Martinsdale over
the weekend as it opened to visitors
for the first time in three years.
The home, which houses a
collection of Western art,
American Indian artifacts and
European art and furniture, officially
reopened Wednesday, said
Bill Jones of Harlowton.
Jones is chairman of the new
advisory committee to the Upper
Musselshell Historical Society,
which now manages the home
under an interim agreement
with US Bank, the trustee of the Bair family estate.
The home and its collections
operated as the Charles M. Bair
Family Museum from 1996 through 2002.
The museum was closed in
February 2003 when the Bair
family trust’s board of advisers
decided the museum was not
drawing enough visitors to justify
the cost of operating it. Under an
agreement announced in May, the historical
society was given a $150,000
grant by the trustee advisory
board to reopen the Bair home for the summer.
The name has been changed
from museum to “home” because
the valuable Western art and
some of the American Indian
artifacts will no longer be displayed
over concerns for security and liability.
Reproductions of the paintings
by Charles M. Russell and
Joseph S. Sharp are on display
at the home as well as a selection
of the American Indian artifacts.
The original paintings and
artifacts are kept in the
Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings.
All the other contents of the
museum are on display.
Bob Brown, president of the
historical society, said the
Martinsdale home will remain
open through the summer,
Wednesday through Sunday from
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an admission
fee of $5 for those over 16.
Seniors pay $2.50.