Montana’s Historical Society Offers Education for All Ages

Visitors of all ages are encouraged to learn more about the Treasure State at the MHS museum and research center in Helena.

Montana Historical Society
  • Eve Byron
  • July 06 2021
Two children enjoy learning about portraits in our collection.

Wooly mammoth tusks, a bison jump diorama and a fascinating collection of Charlie Russell artwork are a few of the treasures to behold at the Montana Historical Society in Helena.

Visitors of all ages are encouraged to learn more about the Treasure State at the MHS museum and research center in Helena. Its galleries hold hundreds of exciting and unusual objects, some dating back thousands of years. The Historical Society also has re-opened the Original Governor’s Mansion for tours, after shuttering the facility during the past year due to the pandemic.

“We look forward to seeing our friends, members, and visitors this summer,” said MHS Director Molly Kruckenberg. “It’s been fairly quiet for the past year, so we used that time to open our new Portraits exhibit as well as maintain cleanliness standards to help control the spread of COVID-19.”

The exhibit “Who Speaks to You: Portraits from the Permanent Collection” is an eclectic combination of people and pets. People have created portraits for thousands of years to communicate with each other and the divine. Each portrait has a story to tell. We challenge our guests to examine the portraits and discover who speaks to you.

More than 80 art pieces by famed “Cowboy Artist” Charlie Russell reside in the 2,000-square-foot Mackay Gallery. They include major oils, watercolors, pen and inks, pencil sketches, bronzes, sculptures and illustrated letters.

Our “Neither Empty Nor Unknown” gallery explores Montana in 1804-06, when the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery passed through what was neither empty nor uncharted wilderness. The area’s flora, fauna and its Native nations are featured in this exhibit.

“Each of the areas featured figured prominently in the discoveries and contacts of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, thereby providing quotes and observations from the explorers,” Kruckenberg said. “But these sites were also spiritually and/or economically important to Native peoples and serve as a vehicle from which their life-ways and culture can be interpreted.”

Hours for the museum are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 per person, or $12 for families, with children entering for only $1. The Montana Historical Society is located at 225 No. Roberts St. in Helena. For more information, call MHS at 406/444-2694.

The Original Governor’s Mansion is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, through Sept. 15. It was built in 1918 at 304 No. Ewing in Helena and tours are offered on the hour from noon until 3 p.m. The cost is $4 per adult, $1 per child, and $10 per family. Closed holidays. To book a tour, call 406/444-4794 or email Anthony.schrillo@mt.gov