Old Trail Museum Serves Area for 30 Years

Posted April 2, 2020

This article originally appeared in the Choteau Acantha.  

The Old Trail Museum located at the north end of Choteau’s Main Avenue has been serving the Rocky Mountain Front for more than 30 years.

The OTM, a nonprofit organization governed by a volunteer board of 14 members, employees one museum director, Julie Ameline. The board emphasizes the museum is important for the preservation and display of our local history and cultural heritage. The museum, which is not self-supporting, depends on continual fundraising activities to remain open. The annual wild game feed has been the major fundraising event for the past 12 years.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, this year’s wild game feed, originally scheduled for March 28 has been postponed and tentatively rescheduled for May 30. Many community events can be cancelled, but because of the financial need at OTM, the board says that the wild game feed needs to be held, when and if emergency conditions subside. At this time the OTM board thanks all those who have contributed an auction item or sponsorship for the 2020 event. The board will keep the public informed as the situation changes.

Two urgent and expensive projects at the museum that must be completed before the 2020 season begins in late May include: restoration and repair to the historic Metis cabin display and the complete replacement of the museum complex sewer drain lines.

The OTM board recently received a notice of approval from the Montana History Foundation for a grant of $8,000. The grant will go toward the Metis cabin restoration and will require some matching funds and volunteer labor from the OTM board to complete the project.

At the 2016 wild game feed, OTM began offering table sponsorships, providing a way for interested OTM supporters to be recognized during the event.

Changes have been made for the 2020 feed, regarding the sponsorship. Rather than table sponsor donations that recognize the support for just the one evening of the game feed, the board would like to recognize the support during the entire museum season, May through September. The board encourages area individuals, families and businesses to consider becoming an Old Trail Museum sponsor. Sponsors will be recognized and thanked by not only having their names displayed during the wild game feed but also having their names listed on an outdoor display on the wall of the OTM schoolhouse located next door to the Ice Cream Parlor.

There are three levels of sponsorship: gold, $200 or more; silver, $100; and bronze, $50. The board hopes this effort will not only provide financial support for the museum but convey to local residences and visitors the pride they have in the community and history.

Sponsorship pledges can be made by contacting Ameline at 899-6000 or 466-5643.