Museums in southwest Montana
*COVID-19 has impacted visitation and some of the hands-on, interactive exhibits at museums. Inquire in advance.*
Copper King Mansion 406-782-7580
Museum of the Rockies 406-994-2251
Historic Crail Ranch 406-993-2112
Established as a homestead by Augustus Franklin Crail in 1902, and occupied by Crail family members for nearly half a century, this land was ranched by the Crail family who raised sheep, cattle, hay and wheat, and eventually expanded their holdings to 960 acres. When Chet Huntley and his group came to the area in the late 1960s, the Crail Ranch buildings and property were among the first that they purchased for their planned Big Sky Resort. Today the Crail Ranch is preserved as a homestead museum that offers guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays.
World Museum of Mining
This 34-room mansion built in the late 1800s was home to one of Montana’s three famous copper kings, William Andrews Clark. The mansion is open daily during the summer for guided tours.
Earth’s Treasures Fossil & Mineral Museum Gallery 406-586-3451
Earth’s Treasures offers an array of natural wonders: Montana fossils, crystals, minerals, dinosaur poop, framed insects, jewelry (butterfly wing, sapphire, gemstone/fossil) and the Bug Wall. Kids get a free rock just for coming in. A great resource for travelling families as it’s kid friendly and offers fun, one-of-a-kind gifts.
MOR houses one of the largest collections of North American dinosaurs in the world, including many examples of the gigantic carnivorous Tyrannosaurus rex and a growth series of the horned Triceratops, which ranges from juveniles to giants. Many of these fossils are on display in the museum’s Siebel Dinosaur Complex, where visitors can view Montana’s T.rex – one of the few mounted Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons in the United States – the bones of Big Al (a nearly complete Allosaurus that lived during the Jurassic Period), numerous dinosaur eggs, babies and more. In addition to dinosaurs, the museum contains a large collection of prehistoric mammals that once roamed the state, including mammoths, rhinos and bone-crushing dogs. Visitors to the museum can see fossil preparators at work in the Bowman Dinosaur Viewing Lab. Each year the paleontology field crew sets off into the rocky outcrops of the Treasure State to collect more information about what the world was like millions of years ago and how it, and the creatures that inhabited it, have changed through time.
Gallatin History Museum 406-522-8122
Montana Science Center 406-522-9087 Butte was home to one of the world’s most productive copper mines of all time and the World Museum of Mining is one of the few museums in the world located on an actual mine yard, the Orphan Girl Mine. With 50 exhibit buildings, countless artifacts and 66 primary exhibits in the mine yard, visitors can spend a couple of hours to an entire day lost in the unfolding story. *The museum is mostly outdoors; be prepared for inclement or cold weather.
Montana Science Center is a great place to spark curiosity in science and technology with hands-on learning through play. Families with kids of all ages will find something exciting to discover. MSC’s featured exhibits include Dangerous Nature, Sun Earth Universe, Earth in Layers, Physics and the high-tech makerspace, STEAMlab. Open Monday - Sunday, closed Wednesdays. Visit MontanaScienceCenter.org for more details and to learn about our exciting events this summer.
The Gallatin History Museum is the perfect spot for families to visit while enjoying a day in downtown Bozeman. Located next to the courthouse, the museum’s building is Gallatin County’s historic 1911 jail. Visitors can explore the original jail cells while viewing exhibits of artifacts and stories from Gallatin County’s past.