Madison Valley History Museum
The Madison Valley History Museum is an excellent example of citizens working to preserve the history of their community before it is gone. The mission of the Madison Valley Museum & History Association is “to develop a museum to house and preserve collections of artifacts, tapes, photographs and stories of historical importance to the Madison Valley and interpret them through display and education.” A generous bequest of funds and land from local residents allowed the association to make the museum a reality. When the old Madison Valley Clinic building was being replaced by a new, modern facility, it was given to the MVHA and moved to the MVHA property four miles west of Ennis. This became the new home of the MVHA Museum. The museum features a working blacksmith shop that was originally used on Main Street in Ennis. The shop was the business of Otto Coss and Oscar Angle and was founded in the late 1800’s.
An even more famous display is the actual mount of the wolf-like creature known as the “ringdocus” or “shunka warak’in” – two of the names it has been given over the years. This beast strongly resembles a wolf, but has a hyena-like sloping back and an odd-shaped head with a narrow snout. Its coat is dark-brown, with lighter tan areas and a light stripes on its side. This “monster” prowled the Madison Valley in the 1880’s, killing livestock and letting out screams that left a person’s hair standing on end. The creature was finally shot by I. A. Hutchins’ and triggered stories of the creature that were passed along through generations of family history and folklore.
The Madison Valley museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 1:00-4:00 every summer from Memorial Day weekend through September.