Donation will put engine in museum’s Model T

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John Schneider, left, stands next to his grandfather's 1918 Model T he and other volunteers are restoring at The Heritage Museum in Libby, along with Jackie and Jim Walsh, who donated $2,000 toward putting an engine in the vehicle, which currently has none. (Ben Kibbey/The Western News)

The Heritage Museum in Libby received a donation for $2,000 April 23, to help put an engine in a 1918 Model T.

Jackie and Jim Swanson made the donation in gratitude for assistance with their own Model T by John Schneider, a museum volunteer.

“We have a Model T that needed some help, for us to get it running, and he very generously came out to where we live and showed us what to do, worked on it,” said Jackie Walsh.

After their Model T was running, Walsh said they asked Schneider if they could pay him for his help.

Schneider said he wouldn’t accept payment, but told the Walshes that they could make a donation to The Heritage Museum.

The Model T that their donation will go toward came from Schneider’s family.

His grandfather, also named John Schneider, was the original owner of the Model T.

“He switched off the horses to give them a rest — and he kept it,” Schneider quipped.

Schneider’s grandfather ran the Model T until around 1930, when he bought a new Model A.

The Model T then sat at the family ranch until about four or five years ago, Schneider said. It came to the museum based on a settlement from a legal battle between Schneider’s brothers.

But the car still had a bit more story to live before it finally came to the museum.

Schneider said that it was stolen by car thieves who already had four offenses for stealing antique cars. Luckily, the thieves were apprehended just west of Kalispell, as the car had no identifying marks that would have helped to track it down if they’d gotten away.

The $2,000 donation from the Walshes will pay to put an engine in the 1918 Model T, though the work will be done by museum volunteers.

For those who want to see the many displays and historical pieces at The Heritage Museum, the summer season begins Monday. Hours at the museum are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The opening celebration for the museum will be on Saturday, June 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with demonstrations, displays and lots of interactive opportunities for visitors to engage in.

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