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Museum of the Rockies

Museum of the Rockies

After a successful career as a physician in Butte, Dr. Caroline McGill retired to Bozeman and approached Montana State College (later Montana State University) with an idea: she would donate her collection of antiques and historical artifacts if the college would establish a museum. In 1957 the MSU Historical Museum opened its doors with a director and staff of volunteers.

Dinosaur exhibit

In 1967 the Bozeman community rallied in support of a new museum building when the original home ó a dairy barn ó was scheduled for demolition. In 1972 a new museum building was opened with a new name: The Museum of the Rockies, which reflected the increasing commitment to a regional focus. The rest, as they say, is history ó and archaeology, paleontology, ethnology, geology, astronomy, art history, and photography. With a mission of understanding, preserving, and interpreting the natural and cultural history of the northern Rocky Mountain region, the museum is committed to covering a lot of historical ground.

Dinosaur exhibit

During Montana's Centennial celebrations in 1989, the museum unveiled a 63,000-square-foot expansion, which tripled its size. Arranged in a circular fashion, permanent exhibit halls are chronologically organized to let visitors walk through time, with the central theme of "One Place Through All of Time". Today, the Museum of the Rockies stewards nearly 300,000 objects and 500,000,000 years of history. One of the finest paleontology collections in North America is found under the museumís roof, along with strong core collections in western history, textiles, Native American artifacts, and photography. The museumís permanent exhibitions, which tell the story of development in the Northern Rockies over the past 4 billion years, are augmented by changing exhibits representing various facets of cultural and natural history. Indoor exhibitions are complemented by a fully operational, on-site 19th century farm that helps preserve the stateís agricultural traditions.


There's always something new to see at the Museum of the Rockies! You'll travel through 4 billion years of Earth's history beginning in the geology hall, Landforms/Lifeforms. Your next stop is One Day 80 Million Years Ago, a recreation of the dinosaur nesting colonies discovered by Jack Horner, the Museum's world-famous Curator of Paleontology. Travel on through exhibits about Montana's Native Americans and the state's recent history. And don't miss the world-class Taylor Planetarium for a new perspective on Montana's Big Sky. The Taylor Planetarium is a 40-ft, 104-seat domed theater that provides a unique, immersive, educational, and entertaining experience that inspires visitors to explore science and the world around us. Throughout the year, both live and pre-recorded public and K-12 educational shows about astronomy and other topics are presented, as well as periodic entertainment-based laser shows. During the summer, visit a living history farm and see what life was like a century ago on a Montana homestead. And each summer, the Museum features a new exhibit.

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