Peace Sign Coming Home to the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center
The iconic ‘Peace Sign’, hand painted on a microwave tower on Mount Jumbo, has been gone for many years, but it will find a new home, fittingly enough, at the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center in Missoula.
Executive Director of the Peace Center, Betsy Mulligan-Dague begins the story, about how the peace sign first appeared.
“It was painted on a microwave shield that the communications company at the time was using to bounce cell signals down to the Bitterroot,” said Mulligan-Dague, and people were sitting on the north side looking at it and thought it needed to be a peace sign instead of a plain white billboard, so they went up in the night and painted it.
"It went through 18 years of being painted over and repainted and covered over and repainted," she said. "Many, many, many stories have been told about the people that were part of that, and the people that lived here or moved here because they saw it. It was just one of the things that made Missoula what it was for so many people."
Mulligan-Dague said the pieces slowly came together to resurrect the peace sign.
“We have worked and worked for many years to get the keepers on board to raise some funds,” he said. “We found a contractor and now we’re very fortunate to have a grant from the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula to help us kind of get closer to being able to make this happen. We have a contractor, and it looks like it's going to happen. 20 years after it came down, it's going to go back.”
Mulligan-Dague said after searching for a good home for the peace sign, it seemed obvious to give it a good home at the Peace Center.
“We've decided to put it on the wall behind the Peace Center and we looked for a public place, but frankly, there are a lot of people that might not want to see it,” she said. “And so having it at the Peace Center just makes a lot of sense. In addition, it's behind our building. So you have to really want to see and honor and interact with the peace sign to get back there and do it.”
The ceremony will start on May 8 with a group hike up to the Peace Sign’s former location.
“May eighth, we're going to walk up to the site of the old Peace Sign, so that it will not be here at the Peace Center yet,” she said. “On the ninth we will have most of the pieces here so they can come and see the pieces. I don't yet know when the contractor is going to be able to actually put it together. Once he starts it's probably not going to take long. I would think maybe later in May or into June.”
From a variety of sheds and backyard shrines and one prominent location at Rockin Rudy’s World Headquarters, The Missoula Peace Sign will be at home at the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center.
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