When you enter the Ravalli County Museum's second floor main gallery, you are immediately drawn to the row of decorated Christmas trees (photo above).

The trees were decorated and donated by supporting businesses, groups and individuals to raise funds for the Hamilton museum. All the trees are for sale in a silent auction, which started in late November. And now, this is the last week you can bid on some beautiful trees. The annual Gallery of Trees has a photo album on the museum's Facebook page. That's where you can make your bid this week, and see the level of the top bid so far. The other ways to bid are to go to the museum at South 3rd and Bedford or call them at 363-3338. The deadline is Saturday, December 5th.

After you own the tree, you can take it home or donate it to an active duty veteran, their family, or some other family or organization. The museum staff will help you find a worthy home for the tree. And there is always a highly patriotic tree each year in the gallery.

Ravalli County Museum Director Tamar Stanley said, "The Gallery of Trees is one of our favorite times of the year, of course, Christmas being such a festive holiday. And with the world in such turmoil we really wanted to continue with the tradition, even though he had to do it in a different way." Actually, by emphasizing the online bidding, even more people will have a chance to successfully bid on the creations. The bids will reach their peak this week.

While you're in the museum, gazing at the trees, you'll see the brand new Lake Missoula display being assembled. It's been years in the making and the Preservation Society is happy to see it finally coming together.

The Ravalli County Museum is open to the public, but you need to be masked in the building. It's open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 to 4 and Thursdays from 10 to 8. On Saturdays, the museum is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with their free weekly kids' activity - gathering at 10 a.m. Check their website or Facebook page for more information.

A snowman in a Christmas tree at the museum. (Steve Fullerton, Townsquare Media)

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