The Barn Doors are Open Again for the 2nd Annual Barn Tour

Morgan Solomon

Montana’s landscape is peppered by history. Old barns scatter the plains and help us remember the first farmers and ranchers that supported themselves on the agriculture business that keeps the state thriving today.

The Gallatin Historical Society & Pioneer Museum will be hosting its 2nd annual Barn Tour on May 10th to allow the general public take a peek behind those respected wooden doors and into the past.

“Barns are tied to Montana’s history. One of the most important industries both in establishing Montana and keeping Montana’s economy going is agriculture. The barns tell the story of agriculture in Montana,” said Christine Brow, one of the authors of the book that inspired the first barn tour, “Hand Raised Barns of Montana.”

The fundraiser includes a lecture and guide from Marie O’neill, a professor at Montana State University in architecture, lunch at one of the barns, a bus ride and four historically preserved barns.

Not all barns in Montana were constructed exactly the same way, and O’neill will guide the tour by connecting the architecture of the barn to where the settlers who built the barn were originally from.

“Marie O’neill is amazing. She not only knows about the architecture of the barns but the history of the people…We thought we knew a lot about our land we live on and the barn that’s on it, but she is so knowledgeable. She told us things we couldn’t of taken a guess at,” said Jane Quinn who is part of the board of development committee for the Pioneer Museum.

Quinn helped organize last years’ Barn tour, which turned out to be a huge success with 60 people of all age groups participating. She is also a large part in the organization of this year’s event.

“We had no idea how successful it would be…but it turned out to be a big success,” said Quinn. “We are hoping to have more people participating this year.”

School buses will transport participants from barn to barn in order to cut down the impact on the farms from too many vehicles. This also allows participants to not only share the experience of what went on inside the barns, but also the view of the landscape that shaped the livelihood of Montana’s farmers.

“We had a lot of fun on the bus, too,” stated Quinn. “It’s part of the experience.”

But wait! Before you hop the bus to tour the barns, a new edition to the event has been organized. A Barn dance the night before the Barn tour will kick off the event this year. It will host three different sessions and be held at the “Big yellow barn” on Springhill Road. The three sessions include a family dance session from 6:30 to 7 p.m., an introduction to dancing from 7 to 7:30, and then the evening dance session that starts at 7:30 to finish the night off.

“There will be a high school band for the family part and then the Unusual Suspects playing Bluegrass, Old time, and Americana for the evening session. It should be a lot of fun”, said Quinn.

The cost for the family session is $15 per family, while the introductory and evening session costs $10 for adults and $5 for students.

The Barn tour costs $45 per person and while the Barn dance is open to everyone, the Barn tour is reservation only. Everyone will meet at the Pioneer Museum to catch the bus. The event will be over at 4 p.m. All age groups are welcome.

For tickets, call the Pioneer Museum at 406-548-8122 or stop by the museum at 317 West Main Street.

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