Laurel needs a museum

Thursday, April 18, 2019
Article Image Alt Text

From the editor’s desk

Over 60 small Montana communities have museums preserving their past. If it weren’t for the museums, why else travel to Scobey, Conrad, Ekalaka, Circle or Chinook? There could be plenty of other reasons, I’m certain, but if I was going to one of these communities I’d visit their museum.

Not only do museums provide a link to the past, but they can be an economic engine. Today, Fort Benton is a thriving small town, but it took investing in the museum to get the ball rolling. Now, the residents there exploit their past for all it’s worth and it’s worth plenty. They have reopened the Grand Union Hotel, added a walking tour, put up a statue of Shep, the famously loyal dog, and put a marker where it is most likely that Montana’s Territorial Governor Thomas Meagher was pushed or fell off a bridge leading to his drowning in the Missouri River. Today, the many tourists flocking to Ft. Benton to see one of their museums support a number of other businesses.

Why does Laurel need a museum?

Because we are not Billings and the best way to express that is through the unique history of Laurel.

Examples of exhibits that could be in the Laurel Museum include: A history of the railroad in Laurel; Riverside Park history; Laurel’s grocery stores and other businesses; CHS history; Volga River Germans; Laurel schools; notable residents of Laurel through the ages; the Yellowstone Trail; the Nez Perce Trail and battlefield; area agriculture and Laurel’s apple orchards; the Laurel Airport; war heroes and casualties; and of course, Lewis and Clarks’ journey on the Yellowstone. There could be static and changing displays of photos and memorabilia, and folks with knowledge could contribute by giving talks on the displays, or by manning the store.

There were several meetings on how Laurel Museum, Inc. should proceed a few months ago. I attended one and then never heard what the outcome was. With the probability of the rehabilitation of some buildings in Riverside Park, Laurel Museum, Inc. could consider championing one for the purpose of a museum.


Have you attended a ball game or track meet this spring?

The Laurel Outlook


You can find the historic archives of our paper here:


We use Google cookies to determine our demographic of visitors to our site. You can opt out here.

We also use Twitter Analytics to track clicks from our twitter feed.