A fire broke out at the Miracle of America Museum in Polson on Friday morning.
Museum founder Gil Mangels told MTN News he was burning dandelion fluff in the yard when a spark caught the siding of one of the buildings.
Of the 42 facilities on site, two of them are a complete loss from the fire. Both were home to agricultural-related items.
Mangels praised firefighters for their prompt response to the fire, adding that no one was injured in the incident: “It’s sad, but it could’ve been a lot worse.”
Lost in the fire were various one-of-kind antiques, including a horse-drawn reaper-binder and a hay baler that was once taken to Wild Horse Island and was in near-perfect condition.
Mangels said they’re working to salvage what they can.
“These are material things, and unfortunately it deprives people from seeing some of these things, but there are so many other things to see,” said Mangels.
“The real draw here is the intergenerational bonding that takes place when families come in and the antiques prompt the old-timers' memories and they share stories,” Mangels continued. “I hope I can sleep tonight; I think I will.”
With 40 buildings left unscathed, the Miracle of America Museum is still open for business.
From the museum website: "The Miracle of America Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of one of the largest collections of American history. Gil & Joanne Mangels founded the Miracle of America Museum in 1981."