History of the Museum

Fort Missoula Historic District

How the Museum Began

By M.Y. 'Bo' Foster — President
Like any worthwhile project, the RMMMH did not just spring to life overnight. It evolved from a modest start and was developed into a viable project as a result of the vision and energy of dedicated individuals.

One of the original movers was Tom Wilkins. As a member of the Chamber of Commerce, he realized that the accumulation of military collections was a valuable asset to the community and should be preserved. He approached several of us with like interests with the idea of forming an organization with the purpose of developing a museum to display and interpret these significant items for the public.

Another pioneer in this effort is Warren Wilcox, whose primary interest was to prevent Hayes Otoupalik's extensive collection from relocating to some other state. Warren's valuable contributions to insure that the museum would materialize included a generous financial gift.

From these ideas and these dollars a nucleus was formed which attracted other individuals with similar interests. Out of this a museum was born.

Home of the Montana C. C. C., "The Tree Army"

The U.S. Fourth Infantry Regiment and the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed the Museum buildings (ca. 1936) during the Great Depression. Headquartered in Buildings T-310 and T-316 by special arrangement with the Montana National Guard, the Museum exhibits from a wide collection of documents and artifacts, ranging from Civil War artillery to Vietnam-Era anti-tank missiles.