Filed Under Libby

The Heritage Museum

The Heritage Museum is a tribute to Libby’s community spirit and commitment to preserving its history. Constructed almost entirely by volunteer labor, the log structure celebrates the region’s forests and logging roots. Community members began imagining a museum in 1971 to display the paintings and extensive artifact collection of Libby landscape artist and collector Roy Porter. The nation’s upcoming bicentennial provided additional motivation to build the museum. Porter’s son Doug became president of the museum’s volunteer board, which also envisioned creating a repository for other local history collections as well as a community archive. Floyd Lucas, a structural engineer who worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers at the Libby Dam, designed the Neotraditional Rustic style museum. The unusual, twelve-sided building features a 130-foot-diameter first floor and a 30-foot-diameter cupola. National Forest landscape architect Wayne Tlusty created a site plan. Other community members dug the well and excavated the basement while electrical engineer John Davidson, who also worked for the Corps, designed and completed the museum’s electrical system. Local loggers felled and skidded between eight and nine hundred larch and lodgepole pines donated to the county for the project by the Kootenai National Forest. Donated trucks delivered the logs to the site, where still other volunteers hand-peeled and notched the logs to prepare them for assembly. Libby High School students built the large front doors in their shop class. The building’s shell was completed as planned by the July 4, 1976, bicentennial. The museum’s forty-one interior exhibits opened to the public two years later.

Images

The Heritage Museum
The Heritage Museum View looking east at the Heritage Museum facade Source: National Register of Historic Places nomination form for The Heritage Museum, Libby, MT. On file at the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT. Creator: Sherry Turner, photographer Date: Aug 2019
The Heritage Museum, Libby, MT
The Heritage Museum, Libby, MT Interior view of exhibit area, The Heritage Museum, Libby, MT. Source: National Register of Historic Places nomination form for The Heritage Museum, Libby, MT. On file at the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT. Creator: Sherry Turner, photographer Date: Aug 2019
Libby Heritage Museum
Libby Heritage Museum Photo of museum exterior. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Tom Ferris, Photographer Date: 10 August, 2022

Location

34067 US Highway 2, Libby, MT | public

Metadata

Montana National Register Sign Program, “The Heritage Museum,” Historic Montana, accessed April 19, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/3038.