Billings Chamber Wants to Sell a Part of Our History
I apologize that I only just got word of this today but what in the hell is the Billings Chamber thinking?
The chamber headed by John Brewer unanimously voted to sell an iconic and historical painting that was donated to the city by Charles Bair himself. The painting was the work of Joseph Henry Sharp "The Young Chief" from 1905 and depicts life on the reservations south of Billings. The value has been estimated at between 300 and 500 thousand dollars. The auction is slated for July 15th in Reno.
The Chamber said not many people see it anyway; well then move it to where they can! The airport would be a good spot for one or even the Yellowstone County Museum but you don't sell pieces of history to fulfill some other wish list the chamber has in mind.
It goes against all intentions of the Bair family or any others that donate to preserve the history and heritage of the area. Part of the Russell collection was sold many years ago by the city of Great Falls and they had a hell of a time getting it back.
This will probably end up in a private collector's possession and its historical impact is then over. What a slap in the face to the Bair family that wanted to share this with everyone and to preserve posterity to have this sold in this fashion.
Mark and I will lead the fundraising to have a secure case to properly preserve this part of Montana and Western history if need be. Shame on the Billings Chamber for this reckless decision. This is what people who are desperate do at pawn shops. Aren't we better than this?
See ya tomorrow at 5 a.m.