It is impossible to miss the giant green and white towboat – grounded between two buildings – as you drive north into Polson, literally looking like a fish out of water. But what surrounds the 1926 logging boat is even more astounding: The Miracle of America Museum in Polson may just be “The Smithsonian of the West.”
“Artifacts open up memories that might not otherwise come out,” said founder Gil Mangles. Founded in 1981, the museum contains just about everything from every generation. From a massive motorcycle and automobile collection to American Indian art, moon landing memorabilia, pocket watches and jewelry, revolutionary war artifacts, mousetraps, a saddle used by Theodore Roosevelt and a winged monkey made for the movie, “Wizard of Oz.” There is even a town built behind the main building reminiscent more of a movie set than a museum.
“It’s hard to boil down a lifetime of a hobby that got out of hand in a few lines,” said Mangles. “I love America and Americana, things built to last or repair, and functional art is something of beauty.”
How to Get There: Traveling south through Polson, stay on U.S. Highway 93. Continue south through the intersection with U.S. Highway 35. The museum will be on your left one mile from that intersection. Look for the big green towboat.
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