Livingston, MT: The Yellowstone Gateway Museum recently received a $5,000 grant from the Montana History Foundation (MHF) to catalog and preserve its Railroad Collection, one of its most important collections. The museum was one of 29 projects and organizations across Montana that received money during the latest grant cycle.
Professional archivist and volunteer Ellen Zazzarino, project director Karen Reinhart, along with museum volunteers, will accomplish the work over the next year.
The Yellowstone Gateway Museum Railroad Collection: Cataloging and Archival Storage project preserves a significant collection that is currently inaccessible and at risk. This collection helps tell the story of Park County’s largest employer from 1883 to 1986, the Northern Pacific Railway (NPR) and Burlington Northern (BN) Railroad. Railroad history is one of Park County’s most important cultural stories, including stories of immigrant workers, unions, women who worked during World War II and beyond, and women’s support organizations. Today, many Park County residents’ history is still connected to the railroad. The funded project catalogs and stores railroad archival material and publications for family and professional researchers, and genealogists. A finding aid will also be generated and posted on the museum’s web site.
The collection includes NPR reports, train registers and other ledgers, framed and unframed railroad union membership certificates, NPR and BN railroad maps and plans—some from the 1880s, some Amtrak materials, professional photographs by Bill Phillips of the Livingston Shops’ last days and other historic rail photographs; and objects such as lanterns and signs. Also included are railroad texts and manuals, railroad ephemera: advertisements, brochures, maps, and more. Some of the material was donated by local rail historian Warren McGee.
MHF awarded $117,800 this year to projects, the largest amount ever. Two other Livingston projects received support: City of Livingston – Commercial Historic District Survey and the Lincoln School Foundation – Window Replacement Project. For additional information about specific projects, please contact MHF Programs Director Gena Ashmore.
The Montana History Foundation is an independent, non-profit corporation preserving the rich legacy of Montana’s past one story, one community, and one project at a time. With the help of donors, the MHF has put nearly $3 million into history projects in Montana communities. For more information, including how to donate and apply for grants, visit www.mthistory.org.