Montana Heritage Commission Montana Heritage CommissionDiscovering Montana

Virginia City

Collections / Artifacts

Whether you see a single artifact that is rare, like the Gypsy Verbal Fortune Teller or a diverse collection, such as the 500+ pieces of furniture found throughout the site; each object is a part of history and needs the appropriate attention. Marge Antolik and Kate Slawski, Museum Technicians, are the on-site caretakers of this history.

Each artifact, of the more than 250,000 that are housed in the 248 historic buildings, is the responsibility of the Curatorial Staff. Collections management in Virginia and Nevada Cities involves the management and care concerning the objects long-term physical well-being and safety. It is a complex and time-consuming task that relates the artifacts not only to the general history of the sites, the Bovey family's involvement, and the State of Montana's current activities, but also their place in the national significance.

The objects in the VC and NC collections are irreplaceable. Even those that are less attractive to our modern eyes, or common in antique stores, have value in our collections because they were specifically collected for or used here. Historic value has no monetary equivalent, for example, a framed portrait is important not only for the image itself but also for the way it is stretched and tacked and the materials used in framing. Care is taken to preserve the artifacts in their current environment, if that is not possible, due to the work of the Preservation Team or security issues; the objects are removed to a secure, temporary storage area or the McFarland Curatorial Center.

Each object must be identified, documented, and actively stabilized using current museum standards of care. It is a slow process, but very important. Dirt, debris and damage are not "patina" or "historic character" and we are removing these dangers, but it takes time, money and people. If you would like to become involved, as a volunteer or benefactor, or if you are just interested in the historic collections in Virginia and Nevada Cities please contact 406-843-5247.

Bozeman Cabby project