The Montana Historical Society in Helena is celebrating the 150th anniversary of cowboy artist Charlie Russell’s birthday with day-long activities and the grand opening of its remodeled Mackay Gallery of Charles M. Russell Art.
The event will be on the date of Russell’s birth, March 19th, Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. with the grand gallery re-opening at 6 p.m.
The MHS Museum staff is refreshing the Russell Gallery, which will now include special pull out drawers to allow visitors to get close up views of Russell’s illustrated letters and other smaller artworks on paper in MHS’ world-class collection. The Russell Gallery will be closed from February 20-March 19 to prepare for the event.
It begins at 10 a.m. with free admission and birthday cake all day long, a chance to sign up for a copy of MHS’ forthcoming “Montana’s Charlie Russell: Art in the Collection of the Montana Historical Society,” and special sales of Russell prints and other items in the Museum Store.
Also at 10 a.m. Russell Gallery guide Marti Cook will be available to answer questions and provide insight into Russell’s work. From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Kirby Lambert and Jennifer Bottomly- O’Looney, authors of the new MHS Russell book, will be in the gallery to meet the public and talk about Russell informally.
At 6:15 p.m. cowboy poet Mike Logan will read some of his poems based on C.M. Russell and the West in the MHS auditorium. At 7 p.m. MHS Director Bruce Whittenberg will welcome guests for a short program. At 7:30 p.m. actor Greg Younger will tell a story from Trails Plowed Under as C.M. Russell.
There will be a lookalike contest with special prizes for those who attend in costume as Charlie Russell of his wife Nancy. There will be free appetizers and a cash bar during the opening.
Special thanks to event sponsors the Montana Stockgrowers Association and Handle With Care. For information visit www.montanahistoricalsociety.org or call 406-444-2694.