Wildlife museum opens Saturday
May 22, 2009
Tim Leeds Havre Daily News [email protected]
A project decades in creation is coming to fruition this weekend with the Saturday opening of the Blaine County Wildlife Museum. John Shelstad of Chinook, a longtime supporter of the museum, said he is excited to see it officially open its doors. “It's been several years in the making,” he said. The wildlife museum includes a gift shop and numerous displays of mounted native Montana animals in their natural settings. The project has been in the works, with extensive fundraising and local volunteer work helping to create the facility, since the old Chinook theater was donated by the Blaine Bank of Montana in 1991. Shelstad said he believes the museum can be a major help to the community. The museum will be marketed, along with other local attractions, to bring visitors to the area. Shelstad has been supporting its creation for years by adopting animals, helping to paying for the mounting of animals to be displayed in the museum. His latest contribution was for the mounting of a grizzly bear, donated by the state department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, to be displayed with a moose showing a chance encounter at a watering site. Shelstad and his family also have adopted a mule deer, pronghorn, a white-tailed ptarmigan, a big horn sheep and a mountain goat. “I like to support local causes,” he said. The museum board plans to continue fundraising to operate and continue to expand the museum, which will include consignments by local artists at the Museum Wildlife Store. The store also will offer a variety of wildlife themed items such as plush animals, books, puzzles, T-shirts, sweatshirts and caps. Donations to the museum, organized as a non-profit organization, are tax-deductible, board members said. Other fundraising programs and events will continue or are just being started. The Adopt-an-Animal program continues, and the board is launching a new Membership Club starting in June. The one-year memberships, renewable each June, include: Swift Fox $50 membership card and two guest passes; Pronghorn $75 membership card, $5 store gift certificate and four guest passes; Bison $100 membership card, $10 store gift certificate and six guest passes; Moose $250 membership card, $20 store gift certificate and eight guest passes. The museum will be open 1-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday through Labor Day. Admission will be $3 for adults and $2 for students.