Preserve the First Special Service Force Mural

The Fort Harrison Serviceman’s Club Mural commonly known as the First Special Service Force Mural, is approximately 24 feet long by 8 Feet high. It painted is the back wall of the stage area in the historic Work Project Administration (WPA) building, known today as the Service club or Serviceman’s Club. The Building is located on historic Fort William Henry Harrison. This building was finished in 1940 and most likely one of the last buildings constructed under the Works Project Administration. The painting is primarily the product of Irvin “Shorty” Shope, Montana artist

During World War II the Fort Harrison Serviceman’s Club was utilized by units who were organized and preparing for combat in WW II at the Fort. The Building currently serves as a large training classroom and social platform for military units serving and training at Fort Harrison. Average annual throughput rate is ~10,000 personnel.  It is also home to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12177.

The major theme of the Mural is the commemoration of service to our Nation by the men and women who were serving at Fort Harrison during the World War II period 1940-1946. It is one only three known to exist in the United States, the other two, one in Pennsylvania and one in Florida at Division level WW II mobilization stations. This is the only mural or painting documenting participation of Women in Military Service during World War II.

The artist contracted to provide the restoration and preservation of this historic mural is programmed to clean and repair the large mural surface. This is the first and only thorough environmentally correct cleaning since Mural’s dedication in 1943. The cleaning is to be conducted inch by inch with necessary repairs being made as the project moves to completion. Actual or compatible paints are being utilized to refinish surface. Estimated time for the project is 30 days. At the end of the restoration, environmental controls and protective barriers will protect the painting.

The total Cost for the Project is estimated to be $27,000. Funds raised to date are $15,212 including donations. This leaves $11,788 to raise prior to the start of the project.

Your contributions will go toward the rehabilitation and conservation of this unique one of a kind historical mural depicting Montana and units who served here during World War II.

Organizer and beneficiary

Michael Touchette
Helena, MT
Kyle Halseth

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