Creativity, History Inspire Missoula's Cultural Scene

Stroll through downtown, and it's easy to forget the present.

On Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 10:58

Stroll through downtown, and it’s easy to forget the present. Historic buildings -– including former hotels, an old mercantile and even a former brothel – dating back to the 1800s offer glimpses of the city’s storied past. The Missoula Downtown Association offers a descriptive map for self-guided tours of historic downtown, of visitors can take one of several guided tours, such as that offered by preservationist, author and professional guide Allan Matthews. Pack in present day, history meshes with art at the Missoula Art Museum, which opened a new space in 2006. The new location allows the museum can showcase its permanent collection as well as touring exhibits, such as Women Beyond Borders, which included works by artists from 30 countries. The museum also organizes commissioned exhibits and has permanent holdings including a collection of contemporary American Indian art. The museum is free and open to the public. Art and music collide during the Missoula Symphony & Orchestra Chorale’s September fund-raiser featuring the auction of violins painted by regional artists. Proceeds allow the orchestra to maintain its busy schedule, which includes a five-concert season, a free outdoor concert, two youth concerts, a family concert and a variety of educational performances throughout the community. The organization has an 80-member orchestra and 100-member chorale, the latter frequently invited to perform in Vienna, Austria.