Two years ago, Kim Murphy Kohn, an archives technician at the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives, tuned into a friend’s online museum exhibit in Richmond, Virginia, titled “50 Objects of Richmond.” She was intrigued.
It’s a given that when residents think of Butte, mining comes to mind for many. Still others think of Our Lady of the Rockies. As for those comfort food lovers, well, thoughts may lead to a pasty with gravy or John’s Pork Chop sandwich.
Kohn decided to expand on her friend’s idea, which morphed into the newest exhibit at the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives — "100 Objects.''
The exhibit includes many objects that just scream “Butte,” including a staple in a number of Mining City households, the Butte Heritage Cookbook.
Also on display are a Columbia Gardens roller coaster car, a map to Butte’s infamous red-light district, the Montana Power Co.’s Reddy Kilowatt and postcards from Butte’s railroad years.
Still, other items could be attributed to any American town, including a traffic light, wooden water pipes and iron gates. Yet when you take a closer look, they, too, are part of Butte’s historical tapestry.
Here is a sampling of Butte memorabilia in a new exhibit at the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives titled "100 Objects.''
From start to finish, the exhibit took 15 months to collect and display, thanks in no small part to exhibit designers Lee Driscoll and Marissa Newman. A booklet commemorating the event was also printed, giving readers a brief summary on each of the 100 items.
Although it was a lot of hard work, the end result was worth it.
“These exhibits bring a lot of people in,” Kohn said, “and I’ve had a lot of fun doing it.”
In celebration of the Archives’ newest exhibit, a reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 3, at 17 W. Quartz St. The public is encouraged to attend. A grant from the Montana History Foundation helped to fund this exhibit.