Recently, the C.M. Russell Museum held a virtual ceremony to honor the students who participated in this year’s C.M. Russell Museum 5th-Grade Essay Contest.
In 1969, the city of Great Falls established a yearly Proclamation Ceremony declaring March to be “Charlie Russell Month” in honor of the artist’s birthday on March 19th. One year later, in 1970, a 5th-grade essay contest was implemented to commemorate Russell’s influence on the history of Montana.
In preparation for the essay contest, the C.M. Russell Museum worked with One Acre films to record tours of Charlie’s early years, his masterworks, the Josephine Trigg Gallery, the studio, and the home led by former grand prize essay winners Brady Drummond and Nathaniel Gill from Belt High School and Amanda Joyce from Great Falls Central Catholic High School. Introduction and closing videos were filmed featuring Charlie Russell’s wife Nancy Cooper Russell as portrayed by Mary Jane Bradbury, a historic interpreter based in Helena. The videos were sent to teachers along with artwork images and other supplemental information. Students were given a family pass to visit the museum since they were not able to tour in person.
The museum recognized the 5th-grade essay contest winners from each of the 22 participating Cascade County schools during the ceremony. This year’s grand prize winners Delaney Youngers, representing the city schools from Meadow Lark Elementary, and Wyatt Remington, representing the county schools from Belt Elementary School, read their essays aloud to the audience. A recording of the ceremony is available on the Museum website and YouTube channel.
The 22 winning essays will be on display at the museum throughout the year and on the museum website.