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 collection of engaging exhibits, artifacts and documents on mining, logging and U.S. Forest Service activities in Mineral County.
301 Second Ave. E.
A one-of-a-kind museum known for its quirky and remarkably vast collection—over 100,000 objects—of artifacts, from automobiles, helicopters and UFOs to a blacksmith shop and barbed wire collection.
36094 Memory Lane
A free, contemporary art museum located in the heart of Missoula's historic downtown dedicated to works by contemporary Montana artists, plus changing exhibits of national and international art.
335 N. Pattee
A butterfly house and insectarium showcasing live arthropods, an animal encounter cart and programs geared toward all ages.
Coming soon to the Missoula Fairgrounds
A working smokejumper facility with free tours dedicated to behind-the scenes glimpses of smokejumper life, plus smokejumper history and education on fire management including jump gear, parachutes, cargo and aircraft.
5765 W. Broadway St.
A museum on the University of Montana campus with rotating exhibits from an 11,000 piece collection including Rembrandt and Warhol.
PAR-TV Building, University of Montana
A museum celebrating the innovation and work ethic that led to survival and prosperity in Montana with exhibits including antique firearms, steam and gas engines, automobiles, tools and logging and mining equipment.
7655 Highway 10 W.
A museum, art gallery and programming “connecting people with nature” by encompassing the flora, fauna and natural history of Western Montana.
120 Hickory St., Suite A
A collection of the region’s mountain-flying history, including vintage aircraft, memorabilia, artifacts, photographs, diaries, motion-picture footage, recordings and published material.
East end of Missoula Airport
A look at the history of Plains Indian art and way of life through exhibits of clothing, horse gears, weaponry, baby carriers and toys. Contemporary American Indian arts and crafts available for purchase.
19 Museum Loop
An 18,500-acre wildlife refuge home to 350 bison—plus elk, deer and bears—including a visitor center and self-guided scenic drive.
58355 Bison Range Road
A fire lookout tower, memorial tree grove and bungalow ranger station with historical artifacts dedicated to preserving the history of the U.S. Forest Service, from ski area development to smokejumpers, paratroopers and conservationists.
6305 U.S. Highway 10 W.
The historic Jardine Mining Company camp with numerous miner cabins and mining remains.
A beautiful garden featuring interpretive displays and native Montana plants collected by Lewis and Clark during their historic expedition between 1805 and 1806.
2 S. Frontage Road
A historic one-room schoolhouse with period memorabilia and an antique merry-go-round.
76200 Gallatin Road
A homesteader days living history farm with costumed interpreters offering a glimpse of the past through cooking over a wood-burning stove, tending to the heirloom garden, and forging iron in the blacksmith’s shop.
600 W. Kagy Blvd.
The original Northern Pacific Railroad depot and launching point for travel to Yellowstone National Park now featuring Livingston history including railroad and early settler life.
200 W. Park St.
A historic spot where American Indians stampeded vast herds of bison off a massive half-moon limestone cliff offering impressive views of the Madison River Valley. Archeologists have located the tipi rings, and buffalo bones remain buried at the base of the cliff.
6990 Buffalo Jump Road
The confluence of the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin rivers—where Lewis and Clark stayed in 1805—featuring cultural and natural history, river play, fishing, biking, hiking, bicycling and interpretive programs.
1585 Trident Road
A children's museum and science center with hands-on exhibits and exploratory play, including A Bug’s World, STEAM lab, a native fish pond, Rigamajig large-scale building kit, a wind tunnel, a gravity vortex and more.
2740 W. Main St.
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.