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It's amazing what can be accomplished with a little teamwork. That's what the Ravalli County Museum has learned this year.

With the help of Rocky Mountain Labs, the museum has secured a series of traveling exhibits from the National Institutes of Health.

The first of these exhibits, "A Voyage to Health," is currently on display upstairs at the museum.

"We're really pleased with the relationship-building we've seen in the last year or so," said Tamar Stanley, executive director of the museum.

Stanley had been looking to bring more traveling exhibits to Hamilton since the museum had additional space to house multiple exhibits at the same time.

She ran across the National Institutes of Health exhibits, but they typically only loan their exhibits to libraries.

That's where Rocky Mountain Labs came in. With the help of lab librarian Martha Thayer, Ravalli County Museum was able to secure the six exhibits that will be gracing the museum at different times over the course of the next two years.

"They have the resources, we have the space; it was just a natural fit," Stanley said.

"A Voyage to Health" is a six-panel display that takes viewers to the islands of Hawaii. The display focuses on the ancient art of navigation, how it brought people to Hawaii and a revival movement to reintroduce the traditional skills as a way of healing native people.

While the tropical islands of Hawaii may seem a far cry from the agricultural heritage of the Bitterroot, Stanley said there are many parallels in values that people in the area can appreciate.

"It exemplifies a way of life that does relate to the Bitterroot Valley way of life," Stanley said. "It brings home the value of your land and the face that we have to steward our traditional ways of life."

The Ravalli County Museum has three focuses, Stanley said, which are natural history, local history and art. And the exhibits from the National Institutes of Health help fulfill the natural history focus.

Stanley said she is also actively trying to help expand the horizons of museum-goers by bringing in different, relevant exhibits that go beyond the Bitterroot.

"We want people to be exposed to something they may not typically have exposure to," Stanley said.

Along with the display, a DVD entitled "Princess Ka'iulani" will be played in the classroom where the panels stand. And on Thursday, Aug. 11, the museum will hold a free showing of the film at 6 p.m.

And to help tie in with the Hawaiian theme, Tara Leilani will host a hula dancing class on the lawn of the museum on Thursday, Aug. 25 at 6 p.m.

Other exhibits the museum will receive from the National Institutes of Health include "Against the Odds," "Frankenstein," "Harry Potter," "Life and Limb" and "The Literature of Prescription."

"A Voyage to Health" exhibit will be up at the museum until Aug. 27. For more information on the hula class, call the Ravalli County Museum at 363-3338.

Reach reporter Whitney Bermes at 363-3300 or whitney.bermes@ravallirepublic.com.

 

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