If you’re looking for an impressive cultural experience, Western Montana’s Glacier Country has you covered. From Old West and cowboy memorabilia to Lewis and Clark and American Indian history to personal-collection museums of Americana memorabilia, our region has something for every group. The history buffs, art lovers, train and plane aficionados, and even the average Joe in your group, will thank you for stopping at these museums that are well worth the trip. For your convenience, we’ve curated this list on Western Montana museums, beginning with our three largest “hub” cities of Kalispell, Missoula and Whitefish, and then our smaller towns.  


Historical Museum at Fort Missoula

Missoula’s history comes to life at the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula. Learn about Fort Missoula’s role in the Indian Wars, the African American 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps, and the World War II internment camp that held Italian and Japanese nationals. Wander the grounds to view more than 20 historic buildings and structures, including a train engine, tipi burner and fire tower (you can get a pretty nice view of Missoula from up there, too).

Let your group walk the grounds at the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula.

Missoula Art Museum

The Missoula Art Museum is an exceptional attraction in the heart of downtown Missoula where you’ll find diverse and thought-provoking contemporary art. Walk through eight exhibition spaces, as well as the outdoor Art Park, and view contemporary works by American Indian artists in the museum’s permanent gallery of Contemporary American Indian Art. Great for groups and admission is free.

The Missoula Art Museum can host receptions and events. Photos: VisitMT

Museum of Mountain Flying

From its beginnings as an old “boneyard,” the Museum of Mountain Flying now boasts an 18,500 square foot hangar filled with aircraft and artifacts to excite any aviation enthusiast. Stop to learn more about the region’s mountain-flying history; see the original DC-3 flown in the tragic Mann Gulch Fire; and learn the legends, lore and legacy of pilots from the Rocky Mountain West. Insider tip: This museum is down the road from the Smokejumper Visitor Center, and many groups like to pair these stops together.

Montana Museum of Art + Culture

On campus, the newly built Montana Museum of Art and Culture, with a collection dating back to 1894, is a treasure trove for art aficionados, boasting nearly 12,000 pieces. Among the permanent collection pieces find works of art by Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Donatello and many others. The museum gallery is organized in a unique circular display around themes of “Beauty,” “People,” “War” and “Religion.”

The Montana Museum of Art and Culture is Missoula’s newest museum. Photo: Andy Austin


Conrad Mansion Museum

Kalispell is a bustling community with notable Old West charm. Visit the Conrad Mansion Museum to see what pioneer luxury living was like at its finest. Open year-round, you can learn about the Conrad family’s contributions to the region from a docent or on your own self-guided tour. View all 26 rooms, unchanged since architect Kirtland Cutter designed the mansion in 1895.

Have a welcome reception in the gardens at the Conrad Mansion.

Hockaday Museum of Art

Find artworks by Blackfeet Nation and Montana artists, including Charles M. Russell, at the Hockaday Museum of Art. Housed in a Carnegie library building built in 1901, the renovated museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Peruse the featured permanent exhibit of Glacier National Park art and culture, or view works by nationally renowned artists in one of the museum’s rotating exhibits.

The Hockaday Museum is also available to rent out as a venue space. Photo: Donnie Sexton

Northwest Montana History Museum

The Northwest Montana History Museum carries on its educational tradition by preserving and presenting stories from the Flathead Valley’s history. Learn about the building’s nearly 100 years as a center for learning, the founding residents who shaped the future of Kalispell, and the trials of each harrowing day in the life of a logger in the late 1800s.


Ski Heritage Center Museum of Skiing

Near the world-class slopes at Whitefish Mountain Resort, see what skiing’s early days looked like at the Ski Heritage Center Museum of Skiing. Watch video footage of skiers from as early as the 1930s and learn about the soldiers from the Flathead Valley who served as “Ski Troops” in World War II.

Stumptown Historical Society and Whitefish Museum

Less than an hour from Glacier National Park’s west entrance is the quintessential mountain town of Whitefish. Restored to its original Tudor-style chalet appearance, the Stumptown Historical Society and Whitefish Museum is both a classic train depot and a present-day working station. Tour the museum for fascinating Burlington Northern Railroad and Great Northern Railway artifacts and history. Be sure to ask about the museum’s locally famed “fur-bearing fish” before heading on your way.


Museum of the Plains Indian

Travelers are drawn to Montana’s rich American Indian culture, and one of the best places to experience it is at the Museum of the Plains Indian on the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning. Clothing, weapons and many other artifacts from regional tribes wow visitors with their beauty and functionality. Special exhibits often feature contemporary American Indian artists.

The Museum of the Plains is a great stop to learn more about the culture and history of the Blackfeet Tribe. Photo: HoneyTrek


Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana

Nestled against the backdrop of the majestic Mission Mountains in Charlo, the Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana preserves the history and culture of the Flathead Indian Reservation, home to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. The museum features a large collection of stunning beadwork, vintage photographs, a life-size diorama of wildlife in an early camp scene complete with elk-hide teepees, a collection of weaponry and a gallery of Old West art. Outside, if it’s warm, walk the short nature trail with spectacular views of the Mission Mountains—you can even request a biologist walk with your group if you plan it ahead of time. 

Cut Bank

Glacier County Historical Museum and Archive

Just east of the Blackfeet Reservation, pull into Cut Bank, where an oil derrick, a 1917 schoolhouse and a Burlington Northern caboose are just a few of the curiosities that adorn the 14-acre grounds of the Glacier County Historical Museum and Archive. On summer weekends, costumed interpreters act out the lives of early homesteaders at a replica homestead cabin and farm.


Holt Heritage Museum

Just up the road from Missoula in Lolo the Holt Heritage Museum focuses on those perennial favorites of the Old West: cowboys and Indians. The museum is open by appointment only, so give the Holts—a longtime Montana rodeo family—a call, and feast your eyes on their western treasures.

The Holt Heritage Group is an experience, and a favorite among groups.

Insider tip: Across the road you’ll find one of Montana’s most renowned historical sites, Travelers’ Rest. This Corps of Discovery landmark boasts the only known campsite where archaeological evidence of early explorers has been found. Now a state park, visitors can walk along Lolo Creek in the footsteps of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. A visitor’s center and museum will fill you in on the historical details of their adventure.


Three Chiefs Culture Center, Museum and Gift Shop

In Pablo, stop by the Three Chiefs Cultural Center, Museum and Gift Shop for gallery exhibits that tell the stories of the Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenai Tribes through educational activities, history presentations, beading classes, and traditional gatherings like pow wows. Browse the shop’s beautiful collection of authentic American Indian-made art, including paintings, beadwork, photography and jewelry.


Miracle of America Museum

Take a scenic drive along Flathead Lake—the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi—to the community of Polson. There, you can visit the Miracle of America Museum, known for its wide array of artifacts. From horse-drawn and vintage vehicles to aircraft, military collectibles, antique agricultural equipment and old toys, the museum features more than 340,000 artifacts and 40 structures to pore over across 4.5 acres.

The Miracle of America Museum is an eclectic stop, with so much to see.

Thompson Falls

Old Jail Museum

Continue your journey into Montana history at Thompson Falls’ intriguing Old Jail Museum. Inside this 100-year-old former jail, learn about the exploits of the town’s namesake—Canadian explorer and fur trapper David Thompson—the horror of the devastating forest fires of 1910, and the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Hours and prices vary, and some museums are open seasonally. Check the links above for more information about visiting museums and galleries in Western Montana’s Glacier Country, or feel free to drop us a line. We are always here to help.


February 13, 2024

Related: American Indian, Arts and Culture, Bitterroot Valley, Blackfeet Nation, Browning, Charlo, Cut Bank, Group Tours, Kalispell, Lolo, Missoula, Polson, Student tours, Thompson Falls, Whitefish