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  • Yellowstone Art MuseumYellowstone Art Museum Billings, Montana
    The Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Montana, opened in 1964, in the former Yellowstone County Jail, with just three staff members and an operating budget of $70,000. By 1982, under the direction of Donna Forbes, the center received its accreditation from the American Association of Museums. In 1995, the YAC was awarded the Governor's Award for Service to the Arts, and became recognized statewide as a top notch museum and completed a $6.2 million expansion program. In 1998, a new state-of-the-art Yellowstone Art Museum was opened and it received great reviews. In 2000, the private collection of billionaire William I. Koch was loaned to the museum and Monet was among them as well as other internationally well known artists. In the current exhibitions, another small collection belonging to Koch are 11 selections that showcase Raoul Dufy, and lasts until April of 2010. From now until June 2010, Montana artist Deborah Butterfield has lent three of her best sculptures to the museum called; Equine Muse. And on March 6, 2010, the museum will hold their art auction 42, entitled Hollywood Extravaganza selling all kinds of artworks that will help fund their many exhibitions and educational programs. In their permanent collection, local historic photographer, L.A. Huffman is well represented; and in their Montana Collection there are over 1900 objects that showcase local artists from the 1940s to the current day, that include; Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Anne Appleby, Bill Stockton, Rudy Autio, Bently Spang, Peter Voulkos, John Buck, Patrick Zentz, Deborah Butterfield, Ted Waddell, Robert DeWeese, Dennis Voss, Tracy Linder, Harold Schlotzhauer and Richard Notkin. In the Poindexter Collection of New York Abstract Expressionist, George Poindexter started collecting these magnificent pieces in the 1940s, after being so confused by the newest trends then that he just had to learn more about them, understand them and finally become a champion of this variation of artworks. His collection of 382 pieces are half paintings and half works on paper with artists like; Nell Blaine, Earl Kerkam, Robert Adler, Herman Cherry, Albert Stadler, Robert DeNiro Sr., David Von Schlegell, Manoucher Yektai, Hyde Soloman, Robert Natkin, Emerson Woelffer, Norah Speyer, Felix Ruvolo, Jack Tworkov, Joseph Stefanelli and Teiji Takai. Over 200 works by Will James is also housed here, since he came to the area in the early 1920s. Will was from Canada, and started out as a cowboy when he was still a teenager, and learned all about the life of a cowboy and his trade. He was a natural born storyteller, and great draftsman, who began his career as a writer and illustrator in 1920. During the period between 1922 and 1942, Scribner's published almost 24 books that were written and illustrated by this wonderful artist, and the Billings area was home for him during that period.

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  • Pictograph Cave State ParkPictograph Cave State Park Billings, Montana
    The Pictograph Cave State Park is just southeast of Billings, Montana along a stretch of sandstone cliffs that seem to form a natural boundary for the valley floor. Two of the caves have shown evidence of people living here or at least visiting here over 4500 years ago, with the pictographs being aged at just over 2200 years ago. About six miles south of Billings, the Pictograph, Middle and Ghost cave complex has been where numerous generations of prehistoric hunters came, and over 30,000 relics have been found in the area. There is a short trail that goes along the ridge line and takes you to the rock paintings that are called pictographs, and very visible in the Pictograph cave, as you can see by the photo to the right. The site has been listed on the National Historic Landmarks and is thought to be the most important archaeological find in the state. A detailed archaeological survey and dig happened during 1938 and 1941, when it had to be vacated because of WWII. Some very noteworthy finds include the barbed harpoon points of the Eskimo culture that was made of caribou horn and nine graves. This was the first professionally supervised dig in the state and one of the first few in the western United States; sponsored by the WPA and led by local archaeologists Oscar T. Lewis and W. T. Malloy. Because of the involvement of the WPA, the dig had almost 60 men working there at various times.  The site was originally bought by the state in 1937, and put under the management of the state's highway commission. During the excavation period from 1938 to 1941, over 10,000 visitors were recorded as coming here to work or view the diggings; and the public interest became so great that a small museum and visitor center was built. This center was useful to process the many relics that came from the digs, and everything was going along great until the states entered the war. Then interest went down, and visitors were not controlled or counted, relics weren't tracked or kept track of and today, the majority cannot be accounted for. The museum itself was burglarized numerous times and eventually burned down by vandals. Then, in 1963, the city of Billings offered to take over the site and develop it, but was met with such unhappiness by the citizens of the city that it was voted down. However, the city continued to try and finally won approval.

January 11, 2011