PLACES: The People’s Center

By Beacon Staff

The rich history of the Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenai tribes comes alive at The People’s Center in Pablo, just south of Polson. The museum, visitor’s center and gift shop is open Monday through Friday during the winter, as well as on Saturdays from May to October.

Inside the museum are historical and artistic artifacts telling the story of the area tribes. One of the largest exhibits opened in 1994 and is titled “The First Sun: The Beginning.” The 1,200-foot exhibit relies heavily on tribal oral history and audiocassette tours are available, narrated in English, Salish and Kootenai. The artifacts present a compelling image of what life was like for the tribes before and after the arrival of settlers.

In the gift shop, original tribal artwork is for sale, including paintings, beadwork and locally made, handcrafted moccasins. The gift shop also has an expansive bead selection so visitors can make their own art.
Doors open at 9 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. Museum admission is $5 for adults, $3 seniors and students and $10 for families. Personal guided tours are $20. For more information visit peoplescenter.org.

How to get there: From Polson, drive south on U.S. Highway 93 seven miles to Pablo. Watch for Skylark Lane and be prepared to take a right after that intersection. The museum is located on the right and roadside signage marks the way.