August 30 – 31st ~ Polson, MT
This was our second experience staying at a Harvest Host location, and it was equally interesting. This is a membership RVing organization that bills itself as “Unique Overnight Stops at Wineries, Farms and Attractions”. Here is a little clip to give you a brief intro into what a stay MAY be like. So far our two stays have been quite different from what is shown in this video, but fun none-the-less.
Our first stay was a week ago where we stayed at a winery.
This time we were at a museum in Polson, Montana. Arriving late in the afternoon, shortly before the museum closed, we simply checked in and let them know we planned to tour the museum the next morning.
The “camp site” was simply parking in their parking lot. Jan and Mark were up against the fence and Tim and I across the driveway, next to some farm equipment. Certainly not an exciting place to park, but boy-oh-boy did the museum experience make up for it the next day.
In all honesty, if we had just been passing by, we probably would not have bothered to stop. It is not very impressive from the outside, and nothing that drew us in.
It would have been a BIG mistake to have missed seeing it!
Where to begin…
They are located between Kalispell and Missoula, about 2.5 miles south of Polson and Flathead Lake off of Hwy 93.
Gil Mangels is the proprietor, along with his wife, Joanne. Gil has been collecting things since he was a young boy and well into what should have been his golden years, he is STILL collecting. Perhaps borderline hoarder??? One of his staff mentioned that they get quite a few items donated each year after someones grandpa or grandma passes away and Gil is too kind to turn anything down.
Founding the museum back in 1981, they are now a non-profit organization and have welcomed visitors from all over the world.
The inside part of the museum consists of an enormous collection of Americana, including household items, weapons, a two-headed calf, a lot of military memorabilia, a full-sized soda fountain, old toys, posters and framed sheet music. This part was interesting, but a bit overwhelming by how much was in each section.
The collection of old motorcycles worth a fortune and the soda fountain were the highlights for me.
But the outside buildings, barns and reconstructed homes spread over several acres was where the FUN stuff was found.
There is simply NO WAY to categorize and sort through all of the bazillion items they have in their inventory, but they have done a decent job of containing and displaying.
Just some of the oddities and treasures include:
Military trucks, equipment, aircraft, helicopter
Boats and motors
UFO and Alien dissection room
Washing Machines, Vacuum Cleaners and Irons
Cameras, Printing Equipment, Switchboard and Typewriters
Fire Fighting, Beauty Parlor, Medical and Dental equipment
Toys for all ages
Machinery of all sorts, Snowmobiles
Old Service Station and General Store
Plus, plus, plus
Hours of Operation
9 AM to 5 PM daily
Under 2 years: Free
Child 2 – 12 years: $3.00
Regular Admission: $6.00
Since it is normal to spend only one night at any Harvest Host destination, we moved for our second night in Polson to a KOA site and then checked out downtown Polson and Flathead Lake.
Enjoying a shrimp scampi dinner prepared by my sister 🙂
Coming Next: Continuing our journey south toward Missoula, MT
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that we did NOT judge the book by the cover. By remaining “open to the possibilities”, we once again had a unique, fun and memorable day.