WHITEHALL - The Western Legacy Center -- in partnership with the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of fame -- will make its debut in Whitehall.
For four years, the Western Legacy Center had been trying to establish itself in Jefferson County.
"This is a great opportunity for Whitehall, Jefferson County, particularly the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of fame. We’ve discussed several ideas over the years to find a home. Leonard Wortman came and said 'how about us?'" said Jay Linderman, the Executive Director of the Western Legacy Center.
When the project first started, it was originally going to be in Boulder, but it didn’t get much traction and the construction of a new building was costly. So, the team decided to move it to an already constructed building in Whitehall.
"We located this building down here. Very few places in Montana where sites like this are available right on the intersection or interchange of the interstate system," said Jefferson County Commissioner Leonard Wortman.
Wortman says they’ve applied for a $2 million Economic Development Grant that will help buy the building and aid in the construction of the façade. Once approved, the remaining part of the plan is to fundraise an additional $1.8. million that can help with the construction of planned displays.
The Western Legacy Center will feature interactive exhibits, Montana-made products sold year-round, and an e-commerce website.
Some of the interactive exhibits features:
- A Mining exhibition with a ‘pan for gold’ opportunity
- Mining simulators
- Animated displays focused on Native American culture
- A 3D visual center that puts you in a rodeo
"We basically wanted to give people an experience and we kind of modeled this a little bit after a company in Lincoln- it's High Country Trading Post. They have a retail store and then they have a few displays around the store," said Wortman.
The Western Legacy Center is projected to open on Memorial Day 2022.