By Tim Leeds
The Clack Museum Foundation is offering people the chance for wine and cheese, companionship and a talk by a well-known lecturer and author at its annual meeting on Saturday.
John "Jack" Lepley, director of the River and Plains Society and executive director of the Montana Ag Center, is the author of "Birthplace of Montana; A History of Fort Benton." He is one of the originators of Fort Benton's Community Improvement Association, which developed many of the town's cultural and tourist attractions.
Lepley is a third-generation Chouteau County resident, descending from settlers who established a cattle ranch south of Fort Benton in the 1870s. He is a retired Fort Benton school teacher, and a member of the Montana and the national Lewis and Clark Bicentennial commissions.
In his talk at the meeting, Lepley will introduce a new book he is working on about steam boat travel from St. Louis to Fort Benton, and will give a capsule lecture on the history of Fort Benton, the oldest continuously settled white community in Montana. He also will talk about how Fort Benton is becoming a major cultural tourism attraction in the United States.
People can attend the wine and cheese social and Lepley's lecture alone, or can join the foundation or do both. The social costs $25, a single membership is $25 and a family membership is $50. A single membership plus the social is $50, or $100 for a family membership and the wine and cheese social for two. The foundation asks that people attending the social RSVP by Thursday.
The social will be in the old courtroom on the third floor of the Heritage Center, with registration from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., the foundation's annual meeting at 7 p.m. and Lepley's talk at 7:30 p.m. Nonalcoholic drinks also will be available.
The foundation administers the Heritage Center, which houses the Clack Museum. Other goals of the foundation include the preservation of the Heritage Center building, providing financial resources and facilities for the Wahkpa Chu'gn bison kill site, and to encourage cultural historical, educational and artistic activities and opportunities in north-central Montana.
For more information about the foundation or the wine and cheese social, call 265-7258 or 265-6417.