The Museum incorporates an 1893 log cabin built by Paul McCormick, Sr., a pioneer Montana cattleman. McCormick used the cabin as a social center and hosted many lively get togethers there, including entertaining his close friend, President Teddy Roosevelt. The cabin still has its original sod roof and several artifacts belonging to the McCormick family. An observation platform covers the lower addition, giving a breathtaking view of the Yellowstone Valley, including the city of Billings and the snow-capped Beartooth, Pryor, Crazy and Bighorn mountain ranges.
The permanent collection of the Museum contains over 20,000 artifacts dating from prehistory through the Fur Trade Era, the Post-Reservation Period and both World Wars. The Museum’s extensive collection of Plains Indian artifacts includes feather bonnets, coups sticks, pipes and pipe bags, a rare dog travois, moccasins, parfleche bags, articles of clothing, saddles, and many other items of everyday use. Cowboy memorabilia includes saddles, chaps, bridles, spurs, firearms, branding irons and other western gear from early area cowboys. Everyday house hold goods display what life was like for the area’s pioneers.
The facility has several thousand historic photographs depicting local and regional history. Located on the Museum grounds is one of the last steam switch engines to operate in the Billings yards, American Locomotive Company #1031, It was donated to the Museum by the Northern Pacific Railroad Company in 1956. A short distance away is a statue of 1920s silent film star William Hart, in his role as Range Rider of the Yellowstone. It was sculpted by C.C. Cristadoro and presented by Hart to the people of Billings in 1923.
The Museum’s Landmarks Gallery features changing exhibits which have recently included internationally known artists LeRoy Greene and J. K. Ralston.
Reprinted from Museum brochure.