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Newly acquired ivory artwork displayed

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CHARLO —  It must be getting near springtime – Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana has opened its doors for the 2019 season. Be sure to stop by for a sneak preview of a new ivory artwork exhibit that will be installed in its entirety later this spring. 

Start your St. Patrick’s weekend celebrations by stopping by the museum and gift shop on Saturday, March 16, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and enjoy some hot coffee and a bite or two of something sweet and green. 

The museum recently acquired a substantial collection of Alaskan ivory artwork of various artists acquired over a lifetime by Hugh Magnussen and his wife, Jutta. The artwork is carved meticulously from walrus tusk, fossilized mammoth, and whale bone and teeth. Even though the sale of elephant ivory is banned in the U.S., Alaskan ivory can be legally collected, carved and sold by Alaskan Natives under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and has become an important part of the economy in Alaska. Many Alaskan Native artists depend on sales to bring in cash to support their families through the winter. This collection depicts carvings of animals from coastal Alaska: the polar bear, wolves, walrus and caribou; native hunters and shaman; and other objects made from ivory such as shipping vessels and scrimshaw. There are several fine pieces that we look forward to exhibiting, one of which portrays a dog sled team mounted to a fossilized walrus bone. As a whole, the collection symbolizes the harsh life in coastal Alaska and the complex relationship between man and nature for survival.

The museum will be open its regular hours of Monday-Saturdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 406-644-3435 to schedule group and school tours.


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