The Museums of Kalispell
The Conrad Mansion in Kalispell, Montana sits proudly today on the edge of the original townsite, atop a bluff overlooking the valley and the Swan mountain range. When Charles E. Conrad, a founder of Kalispell, arrived in the Flathead Valley in 1891, this lovely town with its tree-lined streets was still but a dream. But Conrad had vision, and he felt that not only had he found a good investment opportunity, but also a permanent home for his descendants. Along with establishing the Kalispell Townsite Company and eventually the Conrad National Bank, he had this gracious Victorian home built for his beloved family in 1895 in what was then a wilderness.
Charles Conrad's youngest daughter, Alicia Conrad Campbell, actually lived in the home until 1964. Then, in 1974, she made the decision to give the Conrad Mansion to the city of Kalispell in memory of her pioneering parents.
Hockaday Museum of Art
The Hockaday Museum of Art was established in 1968 by local artists and is today a leading public art museum and cultural resource for the Flathead Valley and regions beyond. The Museum contributes appreciably to regional tourism, economy, and quality of life for the community and state.
The Hockaday preserves and promotes Montana’s artistic legacy through curatorial concentration on the significant art, artists, and authors of Montana and Glacier National Park. One of the nation’s largest permanent collections of historic and contemporary Glacier Park art, the Hockaday is the only Montana Museum with a major focus on Glacier Park, and the art and culture of the Blackfeet Indians. Our permanent collection is assessed at over $1.3M, and holds more than 600 catalogued items.
Rotating and traveling exhibitions showcase the work of nationally celebrated artists, and offer a deeper examination of Montana’s art, culture, and history. Varied and fascinating opportunities for Montana’s next generation of artists are offered through the Hockaday’s art education program. Trained volunteer docents lead enlightening tours for visitors and students of all ages.
The Hockaday’s Off the Wall Gift Gallery is a charming source of unique pottery, glass, jewelry, cards, prints, books, and other original handiwork by local and regional artists.
The Museum at Central School
The Museum is housed in the historic Central School building, which first opened its doors in 1894. In nearly 100 years of serving the educational needs of the Flathead Valley, Central School had been a high school, a junior high school, a grade school, and housed classrooms for Flathead Valley Community College.
Today Central School carries on its educational tradition as a museum preserving and presenting local history.
It is a sturdy brick and stone structure, one of the few remaining examples of classic Richardsonian Romanesque architecture, with most of it's original hardwood floors, wainscoting, and tin-plate ceilings still in place. The building was boarded-up and threatened with demolition in 1991, but the City of Kalispell renovated the structure at a cost of 2.4 million dollars, and since late 1999, has leased it to the Northwest Montana Historical Society for exhibits, performances, and community meetings.