Montana's cultural landscape is on par with its natural one. Between the state's two national parks, discover some of the West's most captivating museums. Western Montana's Glacier Country and Yellowstone Country Montana are teeming with arts and history hot spots-from the fastest-growing contemporary art museum in the intermountain West and one of the world's largest and most famous collections of dinosaur fossils, to museums housing unique treasures like a 7.5-foot sturgeon and one of the world's first personal computers.
We've curated park-to-park tours of Montana's many impressive and important museums, offering a cultural experience that history buffs, art aficionados, and anyone in between will treasure. View the work of renowned artists, and some of the most fascinating exhibits of historical artifacts providing glimpses into the Old West, railroad days, pioneer settlements, American Indian heritage, and our national parks-to name a handful.
Between stops, enjoy the charming small towns that make up the heart and soul of the region, featuring warm western welcomes, historic downtowns, local shops and art galleries, theater and live music, exceptionally good food and 40+ breweries and distilleries throughout the region.
A cultural center in the heart of Bigfork to view Montana art and craft exhibits and experience educational arts and culture programs.
525 Electric Ave.
An interpretive center dedicated to the history of Bonner, surrounding neighborhoods and the confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot rivers.
9397 State Highway 200
A Troy attraction housed in a Great Northern Railway depot featuring Troy-related historical items, surrounded by a frisbee golf (FOLF) course and a nature trail.
629 E. Missoula Ave.
The architecturally remarkable mansion of Charles Conrad, Kalispell’s founder, including period furniture and exquisite gardens.
330 Woodland Ave.
A 187-acre recreation area on the Clark Fork River and site of the historic Hellgate Treaty, which created the Flathead Reservation.
11249 Mullan Road
The historic, furnished, 24,000-square-foot home of copper king Marcus Daly, surrounded by gorgeous botanical gardens and an arboretum with 27 species of trees.
251 Eastside Highway
The first official ranger station in Darby now serving as an educational and interpretive center for U.S. Forest Service history.
712 N. Main St.
A historic log homestead—one of the first hand-hewn cabins in the area—featuring an extensive collection of early settler domestic artifacts and work implements.
101 E. Tanner Ave.
A unique collection of Western and American Indian art and memorabilia, including cowboy antiques and collectibles for sale.
215 First Ave. SE
The home of Montana's first Catholic church and the state's first permanent European settlement includes interpretive signs and exhibits plus period furnishings and artifacts.
99 Fort Owen Ranch Road
The site of the first church in Ronan includes a historic schoolhouse, dovetailed log house, tool shed and farm machinery building, plus a beautiful view of Sheep’s Head Mountain.
518 Round Butte Road
A hotel, saloon and cabins still standing from Montana’s boom and bust mining days—named one of America’s coolest ghost town’s by Travel + Leisure magazine.
From State Highway 200, about 30 miles east of Missoula, turn south between mile markers 22 and 23.
A self-guided tour of a historic, museum-quality, Union Pacific executive rail car offering a glimpse into the golden days of the railroad.
315 Yellowstone Ave.
A world-renowned, Information Age museum featuring thought-provoking exhibits and stories of innovation that span 4,000 years, including robotics, artificial intelligence, the Space Age, quantum computing and more.
2023 Stadium Drive, Suite 1A
A museum housed in the first labor Temple in Montana, displaying the history of Carbon Country including legendary family rodeo and gun collections, American Indian artifacts, interactive coal and hard rock mine exhibits, plus hands-on children’s activities.
224 N. Broadway
A historic railroad depot museum displaying homesteader history of the Clarks Fork Valley, including a doctor’s office and homesteader cabin.
101 E. River Road
A museum with exhibits depicting the history of Cooke City, Silver Gate and Colter Pass, including Cooke City settlement by prospectors and investment companies and the building of the Beartooth Highway—an engineering feat.
206 W. Main St.
A historical look at the geology, mining, ranching and sheep industry of Sweet Grass County, including a research library and archives, plus (during the summer) the Lewis and Clark garden.
2 S. Frontage Road
Interpretive services on natural attractions and the effects of the strongest recorded earthquake in the Rockies.
317 U.S. Highway 287
The site of the first Crow Indian Reservation, the history of which is directly related to the development of Bozeman, Montana, the creation of Yellowstone National Park, and the movement of Montana Territory to statehood.
Mission, Meredith Ranch Road
Before you set out on your Montana museum tour, be sure to map out your trip and plan ahead. Some museums in the region are open seasonally and have limited hours, and a few are only open by appointment. Plan your time by getting a feel in advance for how long a self-guided or guided tour of each museum might be, and research ahead for fees—some museums offer free admission, others charge a fee, while others encourage a donation.
Check each region for more information:
Another great resource for history tour planning, the Montana Historical Society documents all the buildings in Montana that have been placed on the National Register of Historic places.
Lodging is part of the adventure, and Montana's western hospitality is second to none. From authentic guest ranches and mountain resorts to quaint bed-and-breakfasts and historic downtown hotels, there’s a stay that sums up your idyllic Montana getaway.
For more on lodging, visit glaciermt.com/stay and visityellowstonecountry.com/places-to-stay.
Montana is well-versed in the art of food and drink. Our top-notch culinary scene is on display throughout the region, where local chefs dish up creative genius no matter your taste. Our drinks are spot on, too, with breweries, distilleries, wineries and cideries crafting up works of fine art. You'll also find a number of historic, western bars in the region, brimming with authentic Montana character.
For more on where to dine and drink, visit glaciermt.com/eat and visityellowstonecountry.com/food-and-drink.
Check the status of your destination before arriving.
Make reservations in advance and pack essentials like water.
Take it slow and choose low-risk activities.
Learn wildlife safety. View from a safe distance, never approach or feed, and carry bear spray.
Be mindful of your impact on communities.
Take your trash, including fruit rinds, with you and clean up properly.
Make outdoor spaces safe and welcoming for all.
Follow the steps Clean. Drain. Dry. and pull over for inspections.
Check avalanche forecasts, carry gear and know your snow.
Properly use outdoor equipment, learn campfire safety and check fire restrictions.