For the first time in 44 years, the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula has made the decision to cancel its popular 4th of July celebration.

Matt Lautzenheiser, Executive Director explained the decision.

“It’s been really challenging for us, both with our boards and our staff to make the decision to cancel it this year,” said Lautzenheiser. “It’s become such an institution in Missoula and it would have been our 44th annual 4th of July. We’ve had it every year since 1978.”

Lautzenheiser further explained the difficult decision to cancel the iconic event.

“I was talking to our previous director and as he said, it took a pandemic to stop it this year,” he said. “It’s definitely not a decision we took lightly and we really struggled over whether we could make it happen this year. The big concern was just that this event draws thousands of people to Fort Missoula, as well as people from outside of Missoula County, and even folks from out of state who are in town will come through. When we looked at the guidelines from Missoula County, we just couldn’t see how we could make it happen this year.”

Lautzenheiser said the museum would be opening on June 1, with protections in place for visitors.

“We’ve worked with Missoula County and with the health department, and we’ve installed a plexi-shield at the front desk,” he said. “We have six hand sanitizer stations, several in the main museum building and then several in the outbuildings so that people will have access to that. The important thing to remember is that the grounds are outside and are open and there’s plenty of space, so we encourage people to come out and use those. Obviously, we want them to maintain their good social or physical distancing when they’re on the grounds just for everybody’s safety.”

The Historical Museum will have reduced hours of operation:

  • Monday -Saturday: 10am-4pm
  • Sunday: Noon – 4pm
  • Hours of 10am-12pm will be reserved for vulnerable populations.
  • The Museum will close at 4pm each day for cleaning and sanitizing.