Humanities Grant — A Special Thank You.

October 28, 2020 by Ninepipes Updates


Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana receives grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a preservation assessment.

Charlo, MT – The Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana was recently awarded a “Preservation Assistance for Small Institutions” grant in the amount of $5,775 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). This grant will span an 18-month period and allow the museum to contract with Pat Roath of Specialty Museum Services out of Kalispell, to conduct a general preservation assessment of the institution’s 2000+ objects.

“We have artifacts of local and national significance and we want ensure we have the highest standards of care so that future generations can continue to enjoy these treasures.” says Amy Webster, Project Director and Collections Manager at Ninepipes Museum.

The assessment will address short- and long-term needs of objects in the museum’s care and will include a 5-year conservation preventive plan. The grant will also fund some storage and monitoring materials and culminate with a training and open house to share findings with board and staff, local museums and tribal members.

Todd Buffalo, a Samson Cree from First Nations in Canada, and an intern at the museum and a SKC Tribal Historic Preservation student comments, “this is a rare opportunity for me. It’s huge because preservation is my passion and this will be a great learning experience for my future career.”

Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana is located on the Flathead Indian Reservation just 10 minutes south of Ronan and only 45 minutes north of Missoula on Hwy 93.  It was founded in 1997 by Laurel and Bud Cheff, Jr. who had a strong desire to preserve the culture and history of early Montana and the Salish, Flathead and Pend d’Oreille tribes, though the museum cares for Native objects from across the Nation.  Bud was born and raised in the valley and shares Native and historic objects collected over a lifetime.  Many other residents have donated items over the last 20 years to make the museum a national treasure.

Jo Cheff, Executive Director of Ninepipes Museum says “we’re very excited, this is one important step needed to ensure good stewardship of our collections as we work toward our goal of becoming a nationally accredited museum.”

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965 and is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.  Grants typically go to cultural institutions such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television and radio stations, as well as to individual scholars.  The Endowment awards grants to top-rated proposals examined by a panel of independent, external reviewers and is highly competitive.  Applicants undergo four levels of review before a grant is officially supported.

“Less than a quarter of the applicants are funded–especially first-time applicants such as ourselves. So we feel extremely fortunate and grateful.” Kathy Senkler, Associate Director at Ninepipes Museum explains. Ninepipes Museum is one of 3 Montana institutions recently announced in December to receive an NEH grant.  For the official NEH Press Release and grantee list go to:

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