Montana’s history is a young, accessible, "hands-on" history. It won't be found on dry parchment under glass. Rather, it lives at the National Bison Range, the Crow Indian Fair, the two-story outhouse at Nevada City, the Charles M. Russell Art Auction, the Little Bighorn Battlefield and Helena's Last Chance Gulch, or at any number of annual festivals and celebrations bearing names such as the Wild Horse Stampede, the Northeast Montana Threshing Bee and Antique Show, the Vigilante Parade, the Western Rendezvous of Art and the Festival of Nations.
If museums are a celebration of an area’s heritage, Montana has cause to revel every day. With a multitude of unique stories and cultures, from Native Americans to Lewis and Clark, and early settlers to copper miners Montana is filled with wonderful museums
And it isn’t just history that you will find. Montana has thriving communities of artists. Their work can be viewed at a wide variety of galleries around the state.
A small sampling of Montana’s museums and galleries include:
American Computer Museum (Bozeman)
Over 4,000 years of history of computing and computers are on display including mechanical calculators, slide rules, typewriters and office appliances, room-sized mainframe computers, an original Apollo Spacecraft Guidance Computer and much more.
Archie Bray Foundation (Helena)
Over 50 years ago, Archie Bray, Sr. founded what is known as "The Pottery" on the grounds of his brickyard, the Western Clay Manufacturing Company. Dedicated to the enrichment of the ceramic arts and providing an atmosphere of creative excellence since 1951, ceramic artists from around the world travel to Helena to work and study as they enrich their creative and artistic talents. Through a self-guided tour, visitors can discover traditional and contemporary pottery, ceramics and sculpture.
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center (Great Falls)
The nation’s premier Lewis and Clark interpretive site focuses on relations between the Corps of Discovery and the many Indian tribes it encountered, as well as the month-long portage around the five falls on the Missouri River near Great Falls. The center offers living history demonstrations, guided walks, a film by Ken Burns and 6,000 square feet of exhibits.
The Hall of Horns and Teeth and The Mesozoic Media Center
Explore the world of dinosaurs at the Museum of the Rockies, home to the largest collection of dinosaur fossils from the United States. The new Siebel Dinosaur Complex features skulls and eggs from world-famous Egg Mountain and highlights dinosaurs found in Montana, including Tyrannosaurus Rex, Torosaurus, Triceratops and more. The new center also features real-time links with fossil dig sites, allowing visitors to learn about dinosaurs and the process of excavating fossils.
Old Montana Prison Complex (Deer Lodge)
You’ll find more than 110 cars from 1903 to the mid-1960s at the Old Prison Auto Museum. The Old Montana Territorial Prison is a castle-like stone structure on the site of the first territorial prison in the western United States. Vacated in November 1979, it now features guided and self-guided tours.
Yellowstone Art Museum (Billings)
More than 2,000 pieces are in its permanent collection, which includes Western art and contemporary works.