Friday, June 21, 2024

Heritage Museum seeks copies of old photos; readies for May 18 opening

by The Western News
| April 30, 2024 7:00 AM

The Heritage Museum is asking the community for help in locating copies of old photographs, negatives, slides, or 8mm and 16mm films of any of the J. Neils Shay Locomotives and early 1900s photos of the Libby mill site, logging operations and logging camps in and around Libby in the forest. 

Those interested in donating are asked to call the Museum at 406-293-7521 and leave a message with the name and telephone number or send an email to

Donors will be contacted by someone at the museum to schedule an appointment for photos to be brought to the museum.

At the museum, donors will complete a “Deed of Gift” form which gives the Museum permission “to use or sell” copies of the photos. 

Donors may choose two options. The first includes donating original photos to the museum (photos will immediately be electronically scanned and the donor will receive a free electronic copy of the originals on-the-spot).

The second option allows the museum to immediately electronically scan your photos and give the originals back to you. 

Copies of “film” will need to be made later and the originals or electronic copies mailed to donors. Donors may also pick them up at the museum after May 18.

In more exciting news, the Heritage Museum has applied for the State of Montana, Department of Commerce, Office of Tourism’s Pilot-Community Tourism Grant, through The Foundation for Montana History (a non-profit organization located in Helena). 

If awarded, the grant money would be used to complete the restoration of the 1906 Shay Locomotive #4 to “working order” and use it as the centerpiece for an “early 1900s logging history exhibit” where visitors could ride down a mile-long track and back to the Museum. 

This project would create a unique new “Montana heritage tourism experience” for Libby, Lincoln County and the northwest corner of Montana.

The museum opens for the season at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 18, with the annual “Opening Day Celebration.”

Admission is by donation. During the celebration, there will be a silent auction in the Swamp Creek Community Hall (aka The Dance Hall log building behind the main building) to benefit the locomotive project.

Attendees are asked to consider a contribution to the Equipment, Locomotive and Railroad Fund by stopping at the museum after May 18 or mail a check to The Heritage Museum, 34067 US Hwy 2, Libby, MT 59923. 

Museum funding comes from members, visitors, the local business community, and grants, not taxes. 

The Heritage Museum is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization run entirely by volunteers. New volunteers are always needed.  

Visit the website at which contains a link to our Facebook page to learn more about projects at the museum.