Sparks shimmered in the air as Chuck Thuemler pounded a piece of white-hot metal, showing a crowd of about 15 “what not to do.”
The blacksmith was on-hand at The Miracle of America Museum in Polson on Saturday, April 7, for a blacksmithing workshop.
Thuemler, owner of Mission Heating and Air, said he doesn’t get to do blacksmithing much these days, as the company keeps him busy.
Keeping the craft as a hobby for about 25 years, Thuemler said he “had an interest in a primitive craft,” so he took up blacksmithing when he lived in Oregon.
He learned from other blacksmiths by going to events around Oregon and northern California.
When Gil Mangels, owner of The Miracle of America Museum, approached Thuemler, the blacksmith said he agreed to the opportunity to share with the community his craft.
Among those that took advantage was Jackson Sorrell, 9, of St. Ignatius, with his father Julian and uncle Anthony.
Sorrell said Saturday was his first time at the museum, and during the blacksmithing workshop he wanted to make shapes with the metal.
Thuemler said “it’s great to see kids get into (blacksmithing).”
Also in attendance was Mangels’ friend, Don Theeler of Hot Springs.
Theeler was crafting a seahorse to hang above the door of his shop at home.
“I thought I’d come over and have some fun,” he said with a chuckle.
Mangels said the idea of a blacksmithing workshop was borne as a way to utilize the fully equipped shop on the museum’s property. “I thought it’s a shame to see it sit idle.”
He added that it’s exciting to see some of the younger generation that are interested in learning “older crafts.”
At one point in the morning, 36 people attended the blacksmithing workshop, to either participate or watch Thuemler and his students’ work.
Another workshop has been added for Saturday, May 5, Mangels said.
The workshop is included in admission to the museum.
For more information on The Miracle of America Museum, call (406) 883-6804 or visit miracleofamericamuseum.org