Museum buffs traveling to Montana should be sure to plan a stop in the town of Great Falls. From cowboy art to railroads to American history, there’s a museum in this city to suit every interest. Here are some of our favorites.
C. M. Russell Museum
This museum showcases artwork by Charles M. Russell, one of the most prominent painters of the American West. Russell lived in Montana from age 16 until his death in 1926, which gave him firsthand experience with cowboys and other mainstays of Western culture. This experience clearly shows in his vivid, expressive paintings. In addition to viewing Russell’s art, you can also visit his home and studio on the museum grounds, making for a completely immersive Western art experience. To learn more, visit cmrussell.org.
Montana Museum of Railroad History
The Montana Museum of Railroad History originally formed out of Great Falls’ Model Railroad Club, which has been active since the early 1960s. The museum holds two fully functional model railroads built by the club in addition to its historical exhibits. Those exhibits depict the history of railroads in Montana from the beginnings in 1880 until the present day. Additionally, visitors have the option to tour a full-size caboose or see the Anaconda steam locomotive the museum acquired in 2013. This museum is the perfect place to learn about an important piece of the history of both Montana and the entire West. For more information, go to mmrh.org.
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center
According to the National Park Service, Lewis and Clark spent more time in Great Falls, Montana, than nearly anywhere else on their route. Therefore, it makes sense that Great Falls is home to a museum focused on their famous journey across the country. The museum takes visitors through every step of Lewis and Clark’s trip, giving detailed information about their movements and the members of their party. There are also National Park rangers available to give engaging tours for those looking for more information. To learn more, go to fs.usda.gov/recarea/hlcnf/recarea/?recid=61458.
Children’s Museum of Montana
If you’re traveling with children, this museum could be the perfect place to spend a day. The museum’s focus is on educating children through fun, hands-on activities. Many of the exhibits focus on science and math skills, while others let children explore different model rooms, such as a space ship or a grocery store. The museum also features a large Lego area where kids can build to their heart’s content. This museum is the perfect combination of education and fun, and a great place to visit as a family. For more information, visit childrensmuseumofmontana.org.
MORE TO EXPLORE:
Great Falls has even more museums that are worth checking out:
Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, the-square.org
Malmstrom Air Force Base Museum, www.malmstrom.af.mil/About-Us/Malmstrom-Museum
The History Museum, thehistorymuseumgreatfalls.com
First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park, stateparks.mt.gov/first-peoples-buffalo-jump