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In Montana, big cities and small towns alike host major museums dedicated to art, culture, history and more.
Many small towns in Montana have museums explaining the area’s history. In Seeley Lake you can see displays at Grizzly Claw Trading Company, while Cut Bank is home to the Glacier County Historical Museum and Archive. Stevensville boasts the Historic St. Mary’s Mission, which protects a Spanish mission founded there in 1841. In Kalispell you can see the Hockaway Museum of Art, while Lolo is home to the Holt Heritage Museum and historic displays at Travelers Rest State Park.
One of the top-ranked attractions in Bozeman is the American Computer and Robotics Museum. This free museum showcases everything from literal garage start-ups to an exploration of quantum computing. You can also see a Norden bombsight, Sumerian clay tablets, early Bell telephones, an original prototype of the world’s first hand-held electronic calculator, and early versions of Apple, IBM, and even a Commodore 64.
When traveling the Hi-Line, make sure to stop in at the Children’s Museum of Northeast Montana in Glasgow and spend a moment of quiet reflection at the Northeast Montana Veterans Memorial Park at Fork Peck. The Central Montana Historical Museum in Lewistown displays early-day artifacts as well as local art.
Find Building 322 on the grounds of Fort Missoula and you’ve found the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula. Set in the western Montana city of Missoula, the fort was first established in 1877 by the United States Army as a defense, and was home to the legendary Buffalo Soldiers of the late 19th century.
Stroll the Fort Museum grounds, which are always open and free to the public, for a look at the St. Michael’s Church, Miller Creek Guard Cabin and the Sliderock Lookout. Permanent collections of the museum include "250 Years of Missoula’s History" in the Main Missoula Gallery, and an overall look at the Buffalo Soldiers of the 25th Infantry.
Visit the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula from Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., after checking into the Best Western hotel in Missoula – sitting less six miles from the museum.
When traveling in northern Montana head for Shelby. A pleasant and quaint city, Shelby visitors make plans to explore the Marias Museum of History & Art – you should too. A free museum, the Marias Museum of History & Art features more than 10,000 artifacts from the city of Shelby and surrounding area – it's a real treat and gives you a better idea of the origins of Shelby.
Open from May 15th through September 15th, the Marias Museum of History & Art has been in operation since the early 60s. Be sure to explore the museum and find the Victor Talking Machines, and keep an eye out for memorabilia and artifacts from the Dempsey-Gibbons heavyweight boxing match. Drive in from Havre and take a tour of the Marias Museum of History & Art.
Established in 1981, the Miracle of America Museum & Pioneer Village is located in Polson in northwestern Montana. Open daily throughout the year, the complex consists of 35 buildings across four acres.
The Miracle of America Museum features 50 antique motorcycles in the Iron Steeds & Leather Britches exhibit, vintage winter tools at the Think Snow! exhibit, and additional collections. The onsite Pioneer Village features the 1912 Green Mountain School, a Mash helicopter, a Little House on The Prairie replica, and more.
Nera Billings, tour the Moss Mansion Museum, which explains this 1901 landmark residence as well as history of the founding of what today is Montana’s largest city. The well-regarded Yellowstone County Museum chronicles the settlement of this river valley and has displays on local industry and enterprise.
Enjoy a touch of fine art in Montana. The Montana Museum of Art & Culture fine art collection began in 1894, one year after the University of Montana was established. Located on the Missoula campus, the museum's collection of over 10,000 original works is one the oldest collections in the Rocky Mountain Northwest. This state cultural museum offers educational programs and world-class traveling exhibits.
The permanent collection features local, regional and international artists' works. Monthly events, tours and gallery talks are also hosted at the museum. Spend a day touring the museum, then schedule time for touring the flagship campus, of the University of Montana. Have fun in this Montana university town.
Bozeman’s leading museum – indeed one of the top museums in the state – is the Museum of the Rockies. This top-notch facility has a planetarium, extensive explanations of the area’s geology and life, and sculpture. The busy events calendar features talks and shows, and the Martin Children’s Discovery Center will keep the kids happy. The main draw, however, is the museum’s world-famous dinosaur display. You can see the most complete allosaurus ever discovered as well as a deinonychus – the North American cousin of the velociraptor – and a large assortment of triceratops and T. rex fossils.
Located in the former railroad siding of Havre, the Frank DeRosa Railroad Museum sits to preserve the rich railroad heritage in Montana. Weather permitting – the railroad museum is open for business seven days a week in the summer and six days a week in the winter.
During your visit, exhibits on hand include a variety of actual Montana railroad equipment, including a real-life pushcart, a working block signal, and more. Other on-site must sees include the model railroad, gift shop, and reference library for further Montana settler history and railroad information.
Located in Miles City, the Range Riders Museum is a small site dedicated to preserving Montana’s pioneer roots and geological history. The museum features a number of exhibits, however, portions of museum are an exhibit themselves – including décor, furnishings, and even entire rooms, like the Country School Building.
Other exhibits include a Native American artifacts display, the Bert Clark Guns exhibit, countless western items, and a collection of antique cars in the Wagon Depot exhibit. There is plenty more to see at the Range Riders Museum, as the museum boastfully features displays in every room of every building.
Learn a bit about local history in Montana. The Ravalli County Museum is located in the 1900 Old Courthouse in Hamilton. Operated by the Bitter Root Valley Historical Society, the museum houses a wonderful collection of art, as well as exhibits featuring local and natural history. The educational programs offered at the Museum are ideal for the whole family.
Stroll through this wonderful Montana museum to view the variety of exhibits, including, Walk Through the Bitterroot, Lewis & Clark Meet the Salish in the Bitterroot, National Senior Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and Trapper/Miner. The artifacts in the permanent collection were donated by many Pioneer families, as well as from Henry Grant, "Mr. Bitterroot."