The EHAHC is supported primarily through volunteer efforts!   

If you would like to help in any of the capacities listed below, please contact us.

  • Event Host or Hostess

  • Event set-up help

  • Event Parking attendant

  • Event Emcee

  • Event Box office at admission events

  • Event Kitchen help

  • Event Sound Person

  • Event Stage Manager

  • Event Photographer

  • Clean up after event

  • Donation of appetizers

  • Writers of press releases and follow up stories

  • Committee membership (requires attendance of monthly regular board meetings)

    • Program Committee

    • Membership Committee

    • Property Committee

    • Grant & Fundraising Committee



Garden Club

The EHAHC has started a Garden Club.  Contact us for more info and work days.


Featured Volunteers

Roger Williams Photo.jpg

Sept 2010 Workday Volunteers

Major scraping, painting, hammering and general upheaval resulted in a new, crisp look to the exterior of the beautiful old home.  Our gratitude goes to John Benedict of Benedict Builders for his generous donation of the genie lift that gave us accessibility to the high peaks of the house.  Painting the trim would not have been possible without the scaffolding supplied by Bob Erdall and Jon Bergstrom.  Kay Rossow spent many hours helping with painting trim and her sister Gay joined the fun on the 2010 Work Day.  And who can forget the picture of our own Board member Gary Forney on the roof in his bare feet!  Roger Williams donated his time and talents restructuring the gravel parking lot near our new handicap ramp.  Thanks to these folks, the south and east side of the house are complete.

Teri Armstrong-Wright

Teri Armstrong-Wright

Teri Armstrong-Wright’s idea of a relaxing vacation is to spend her time scraping, painting, and restoring historical buildings.  Luckily for the Elling House Arts and Humanities Center, we have just such a spot!  For each of the last two years, Teri has dedicated two weeks of her time and effort to the Elling House, and plans to continue doing so.  Teri and her husband Dave’s interest in historic preservation is evident in their local area of Michigan as well, where they are both founders of the Big Prairie Township Historical Society.  The Society, with Dave as trustee and Teri as secretary, has been instrumental in moving an 1800’s-era church and a grange hall to a restored village setting.  The group plans to move the only remaining one-room schoolhouse in the state to that village this summer.  

Teri was born and raised in Michigan.  She and Dave have six grown children and fourteen grandchildren, the oldest of which will graduate from high school this year and plans to pursue a career in pharmacy.  Dave and Teri own and operate a construction company and Dave is also the township supervisor for Big Prairie Township.  Teri was trained as a licensed practical nurse at the college at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has been an LPN at an urgent care center for the past 25 years.   She loves doing her job. 

Teri feels strongly that the Elling House is an outstanding example of a building of historic value.  She is more than willing to devote her free time to helping her best friend and sister Toni return the House to its original charm and character.

Kay Rossow

Kay Rossow

Kay Rossow is one of the more daring volunteers we’ve had helping to restore the Elling House.  Last fall you could find her climbing around on the very high, very steep roof of the house, scraping and painting the wood trim on the eaves and the second story dormer windows.  She became quite familiar with the hydraulic lift and the scaffolding that were used on the project.  She even has a permanent reminder of her efforts – a scar on her leg from a misplaced jump onto the roof and the resulting tetanus shot!  But thanks mostly to her efforts; the newly painted trim looks great.

Kay was born and raised in South Dakota and went to Black Hills State University for hotel and restaurant management.  She sharpened her bartending skills while living in Louisiana, Texas, Hawaii and California.  In 2003 she and Gay, her twin sister, became owner/operators of the Bale of Hay Saloon in Virginia City; this summer will be their ninth season running the popular watering hole.  They stay in Virginia City from May through October each year.  In addition to running the bar, they operate an out call massage service here throughout the summer, and in the Big Sky area during the winter months. 

Kay is very civic minded and demonstrates her love of Virginia City by supporting many worthy causes.  She is an active member of the local Chamber of Commerce.  Kay is the organizer of the annual Save Our Buildings fundraiser to benefit the Virginia City volunteer fire department, raising one third of the department’s budget.  

Thank you, Kay, for your active support of the EHAHC (and risking your life to make the outside look so great).

Thelma McTavish

Thelma McTavish

Thelma McTavish created & donated a gorgeous, handmade quilt to the EHAHC to be used as a raffle. She is a long time friend of homeowner, Toni James.  Thelma and Toni worked at a live theater together in Orcas Island, WA. Thelma has visited Toni & Virginia City many times over the years and is interested in preserving the town’s history. Thelma is very excited about the formation of the EHAHC and donating a quilt as a fundraiser is her way of supporting its endeavors.

“As far as quilting, I have been doing it for years and simply enjoy the quiet time it affords me. I don’t do machine quilting however.  I can appreciate it but I feel it changes the texture of the quilt itself by making it stiffer to the touch. I stick mainly to the older quilting patterns and am an admirer of the Civil War quilts,” said Thelma. She does machine-piece the tops using only cotton fabric and uses the traditional muslin backing. She makes or buys quilting stencils for pattern, traces them on by hand, then quilts them. The fabrics used in this quilt have been pre-washed so they will not run or shrink.

Laura Alvarez

Laura Alvarez

Laura Alvarez, our exceptional seamstress (among many other talents ) is a true Montana native.  She was born in Missoula and raised in the Bitterroot Valley.  In the fall of 2010 she earned a full professorship at the University of Montana in Missoula, where she is the head of costuming for the School of Theatre and Dance and teaches costume design/technology.  Her connection with Virginia City dates back to 1966, when she saw her first play, Mighty Dollar, at the VC Opera House.  Her dream of being a part of Virginia City’s theater atmosphere was answered in 1976 when Judith Ferrie, director of the Opera House Theater, hired her as a costume apprentice for $20 a month, and she lived in the old World War II trailers located where the performer’s cabins now exist.  Her college years were interrupted by marriage and the birth of her two children, during which time she spent ten years in Phoenix as an in-store men’s tailor.   She received her unique training as a tailor from a Sicilian woman and Mexican man, neither of whom spoke English, and two concentration camp survivors who spoke Yiddish!  She returned to her college studies after a sixteen-year hiatus, spending the summers of 1993 and 1994 in VC as costume designer for the Opera House Players.  She graduated in 1994 with a degree in secondary education and a minor in drama.  That same year, she bravely set out to Hollywood with very little money, no place to live, and no job, but in true life Hollywood style, had an apartment and job in little over a week.  She was hired at the L.A. Opera as a stitcher and worked her way up in the world of sewing and designing technology, doing costuming for movies and TV productions.  She was hired by David E. Kelley Productions as head tailor and workroom supervisor on the Emmy award winning television programs Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, and The Practice.  She is twice a proud grandmother, and plans to donate all the time she can during the summers to support the Elling House Arts and Humanities Center.  Last summer she spent over 100 hours at the Elling House designing and sewing drapes and curtains for all the oversize first floor windows.  We are proud and lucky to have such a talent as part of our group.

Catherine Dixon

Catherine Dixon

Catherine Dixon was born and raised in the Carolinas, but Montana is her home.  After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in drama from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina, she headed to the University of Montana to work on a graduate degree in scenic design.  During breaks in her graduate study, she says she “wandered the earth as a scenic artist for 15 years.”  Her interesting and varied background includes three years as a scenic artist for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery, Alabama.  She was the shop manager for Cobalt Studios in White Lake, New York, a school for scenic artists, where she learned techniques of faux finishes and joined the Scenic Artists Union.  She spent three seasons as a scenic artist in Seattle for the popular television series “Northern Exposure” during which she joined Local 339, the Studio Mechanics Union.  She was affiliated with the New Mexico Repertory Theater in Santa Fe and Big Bear Studios in Oklahoma.  Since all these experiences were seasonal, Catherine took every opportunity between assignments to return to Montana.  She painted for the Big Fork summer playhouse, the summer Tent Theater in Missoula, and her favorite, the Opera House in Virginia City.  Now living in Missoula, she works for the Montana Repertory Theater and the Missoula Community Theater.  The last four summers she has foregone traveling to become part of the Virginia City scene and has volunteered her considerable painting and scenic talents to helping The Elling House Arts and Humanities Center.  She and her sidekick Misty (once described as part coyote, part mule deer!) are greatly appreciated for their efforts and cheerful company.