Montana Museums That Are Absolutely Worth the Visit
There are many ways to appreciate our great, beautiful state, but I think what most people focus on is Montana's landscape. It's worthy of attention, and I'm glad to know that Montana is being appreciated for the natural wonders that inspire us all.
But there are other ways to appreciate Montana, and visiting the state's many museums is a fantastic place to start. Learning about our state's history is important for many reasons, but especially for the sake of deepening our empathy for each other. In a time when Montana is growing and changing, I think we all need to remember that Montana has a complicated yet interesting past, and knowing and appreciating that past informs how we move into the future.
Whether for their importance, or the pleasure they bring, Montana has quite a few museums that are definitely worth a visit.
Castle Museum and Carriage House, White Sulphur Springs, Montana
It's not every day you see a castle, and even less likely you'd see one in Montana, but Meagher County Historical Association operates a museum out of an eccentric Victorian mansion in White Sulphur Springs. They'll be reopening in May of 2023 and you can check out a list of event they have planned right here.
C.M Russel Museum, Great Falls, Montana
Perhaps one of the best-known artists for depicting the American West, the C.M Russel Museum features both permanent and temporary exhibits that celebrate the art of the west. Some exhibits include "The Bison: American Icon", "Firearms, Technology, and the American West", and "Artists of the Contemporary West."
Dumas Brothel, Butte, Montana
"The Longest Continuously Running Brothel in US History" -dumasbrothel.com
You might have thought that honor would go to an establishment in Nevada but no, that distinction belongs to Butte, Montana. While you can tour the facility on alternating Saturdays, perhaps this historical site's bigger draw is its paranormal events and tours.
Little Bighorn Battlefield, National Monument, Crow Agency, Montana
This site is rich with culture and information as part of the National Park Service and commemorates The Battle of Little Bighorn. You may know this as Custer's Last Stand, but according to Smithsonian.com it's referred to as The Battle of Greasy Grass by the Lakota. With a Visitor's Center, Museum, Indian Memorial and Custer National Cemetry, among other features, it's a noteworthy site.
Missoula Art Museum, Missoula, Montana
The Missoula Art Museum offers a diverse array of art and experience with exhibits, events, education, and outreach. The venerable Contemporary American Indian Collection "features almost 250 objects by the nation’s most recognizable and powerful Native artists, and is the most sought-after part of the collection, with frequent requests for loans. At the core of the CAIAC are artists from tribes in Montana" according to the MAM website.
The Montana Dinosaur Trail
If you're willing to take yourself on a road trip around the state, consider following The Montana Dinosaur Trail, a series of exhibits featuring dinosaur discoveries in Montana.
Moss Mansion, Historic House Museum, Billings, Montana
While some might find it haunted, the Moss Mansion is a delightful feature in Billings, Montana, offering events year-round, like #hauntedmoss, #merrymoss, games of Clue, and Murder Mystery Dinners. Tours are offered year-round, too, which allow you to explore at your leisure.
Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, Montana
An active research lab is cool on its own but the Museum of the Rockies is so much more. It houses a planetarium and the skeletons of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a "nearly complete Allosaurus." They host signature events (wine and dinosaurs anyone) and they feature "changing exhibits" like the "Marvelocity: The Art of Alex Ross" and "Da Vinci The Exhibition."
Yellowstone County Museum, Billings, Montana
It would be easy to miss this museum. It's tucked into the hustle and bustle of the Billings Airport, but it's a fascinating establishment. It houses the "largest public display of Ghost Dance objects in the world, on loan from Billings native Larry Williams" writes Michael Foth at our sister station in Billings.