Every once in a while you come across the unexpected, something just that little bit special and something that just makes you smile. The Ohrmann Museum & Gallery is one such place.
We were casually driving around the backroads of Montana down the Pintler Veterans Memorial Scenic Highway or MT Highway 1 as it more boringly called when we came across a total gem of a place.
When you see a sign on the fence saying “Usually Open” it makes you wonder. Then travel a little further and see a humongous metal woolly mammoth and well you just have to stop off don’t you?
Fortunately for us, the usually open sign did indeed mean it was open. We drove into the driveway of a very strange place. An older farmhouse to one side, a large more modern building to the other and in between a crazy array of metal sculptures including the woolly mammoth. This is the home of the Ohrmann Museum & Gallery.
As we get out of the truck we were greeted by an elderly lady who was rather frail on her feet and used a stick to get about. She welcomed us to the place and explained that her husband was the artist and that we should wander around, take as many photos as we want then come inside to the museum where she would meet us.
Well, to say the sculptures here are amazing is an understatement. They are all lifesize including elk, buffalo and many birds.
Wehn we went into the museum we chatted to the lady whose name was Phyllis. Her husband Bill Ohrmann is the artist and this is what we learned about him.
Bill was born in 1919 and was a rancher all his life. His love of nature and animals was the inspiration for his artwork, first through paintings, then wood carvings. During the 1970’s and 80’s Bill produced over 200 wood carvings and began to get a name for himself. His work appeared in local shows and he was also getting commissions.
It wasn’t until Bill was in his 70’s that he started metal sculpting. Between 1998 and 2012 he had created many magnificent works of art, all of them lifesize and all of then amazingly accurate.
Unfortunately, Bill died in November 2014 just short of his 96th birthday. A few years previous the sight in one eye was destroyed by macular degeneration and then a bout of shingles left him with little sight in his remaining eye. So for the final year or so of his life, he was unable to paint or do the things he loved most. But his legacy lives on through is amazing artwork.
This was truly a place of wonder and enjoyment and we thank Phyllis for taking the time to show us around and chat with us.
If anyone is in the area of Drummond you must stop off at this incredible place. You will not be disappointed.