I work for a historic house museum…it is as cool as it sounds. The basic information of The Moss Mansion can be found with a general google search. It is a single family home built in the early 1900s by P.B Moss. This man helped build Billings, MT into what it is today. You could even go on a tour of the home and learn so much more. However, there are a couple things you would never know unless you spent some quality time within the home.
We do not have secret passageways…but I guarantee there is plenty of other details you have never noticed.
When you walk into the Moss Mansion it can be overwhelming. The intricate details on the walls, ceilings, floors, furniture can be a lot to take in. There is just so much to look at that people often miss the small details throughout the house. Things such as lizards carved into the doorknobs. A bathroom sink painted with gold on the bottom of it. Old man wind’s face carved into wood, tucked into the side of a china hutch. My suggestion? Keep coming back. You will always find something new!
We are completely self-funded.
People see big, huge fancy mansion, and assume a lot about money. They think the family must have left money to upkeep the estate, that we receive money from the state or city, or that we have secret stash of gold. The truth of the matter is that we are 100% self-funded. What does that mean? It means every cent of our budget comes from hard work from staff, board members and volunteers. We generate our revenue through tours, rentals, amazing events, and a handful of grants. It is never easy, but it is always fun.
A lot of our collection is never put-on display, and it is the most interesting items.
We have a whole collection of objects located on the third floor in a climate-controlled room we have named the vault. Most of these objects are original to the Moss family. Items such as clothing, photographs, schoolwork, even journals and business logs. These items are some of the most precious in our collection, because they give us a peak at the Moss family and their personalities. The Moss women were quite witty and funny, and very smart. The Moss men were trouble makers, but very kind. Everyone who knew them loved them.
The third floor is not as cool as it sounds…mostly
The third floor of the Moss Mansion has always been off limits to the public, for a multitude of reasons. People often try to bribe us to see it. When people are not allowed to see something, they always want to. The third floor is actually a little…underwhelming…it is just work and office space, where we keep all our collection items, and where we store a lot of seasonal event items. While that sounds very mundane there is a cool aspect of this floor. There is a ladder that goes into an attic space above. For a long while they were pulling stuff out of there. They found little toy boats, tiles from the roof, old screen doors. All of that has been taken out and replaced with insulation. However, what does remain is all the signatures from the Moss children. They wrote their name in chalk all over the beams of the attic. Within this attic is another ladder that leads you to the roof. Fun fact about the roof…it’s flat!
Yup…There are Ghosties, but they are friendly
The Moss has a lot of wild ghost stories associated with it. Talks of a little girl giggling on the staircase, hearing doors open and close, footsteps when no one is there. The list could go on. We have been investigated by the Montana Paranormal Society on more than one occasion, and they caught quite a few cool EVPs. They saw figures pass in the night, and more than one investigator had some great personal experiences. However, no one has ever had a bad supernatural experience in the Mansion. All have been harmless and in passing. More than once students have sworn someone got into their selfie with them. Ghosts are just like us, they are just still trying to enjoy the house. Though I would not complain if they scared people occasionally.
Bonus Secret: History is cool, and so is the staff.
When people think Historic House Museum staff their minds immediately go to older grey haired cranky cat ladies telling you to not breath on anything. Now I am not going to say we aren’t cat ladies (seriously…we have wanted a Moss cat for years) but we aren’t old, and we aren’t cranky. We are just a group of people who love our job and love the Mansion we work in. It is like our second home, and we make ourselves at home. We often prank each other, some of us lay on the floor when we need a brain break, and we have piles of snacks and drinks to get us through our workday. We dress up for every occasion, often wear slippers when in our offices, and have to walk down four flights of stairs just to use the restroom. Think all this sounds awesome? You should probably volunteer. Trust us…we are fun to hang out with.