Northern Rockies Heritage Center, Missoula, Montana

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Photo © NRHC

In 1877, the U.S. Army founded Fort Missoula to securely house soldiers during the heated battles of the Indian Wars, resulting in the historic forced surrender of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce tribe. By 1915 the fort had expanded to include the “New Post” area, which incorporated Mission Revival architecture and significant growth in the fort’s acreage. During World War II, the Fort served as a Japanese-American internment camp; today, the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula features exhibitions of restored internment barracks.

With this rich historical background, Fort Missoula is now home to the Northern Rockies Heritage Center (NRHC), a growing museum, cultural and educational complex whose mission is “the preservation of the heritage and the integrity of historic Fort Missoula.” The Center takes a multi-faceted approach to its mission, which includes studies in military science, the Native American presence, agriculture versus urbanization, immigration, local culture and other topics.

At NRHC, visitors can immerse themselves in the history of the fort and the region by taking in exhibits at the Rocky Mountain Museum of Military History and the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula. The fort complex itself is an architecture museum with its Mission Revival military buildings complete with arts and crafts interiors.

Admission to NRHC sites are free. For more information, go to nrhc.org. To plan a visit to Missoula, go to destinationmissoula.org.