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The C.M. Russell Museum holds thousands of paintings, sculptures, drawings, and illustrations that Charles M. Russell (1864'1926) created from childhood through the end of his life. Displayed in a suite of five galleries, the works are arranged to show how the artist evolved, as well as to celebrate the culture of the American West. Charlie's subjects were based on Western history and his own experience, including cowboys, Plains Indians, and wildlife. Through his art, we learn about his life, first as a newcomer to Montana from St. Louis working with cattle outfits, to his decision to become a professional artist when he created such masterpieces as The Exalted Ruler, The Jerkline, and The Fireboat. Memorabilia from the Russell family completes this one-of-a-kind collection.
The museum complex also holds the original C.M. Russell Home, Russell's Log Cabin Studio, Sculpture Garden, and Museum Store. The Russell Home was built in 1900, and is furnished with period pieces as well as items from the Russell family, and has been beautifully preserved for the enjoyment of museum visitors. Russell's Log Cabin Studio was built in 1903 and is adjacent to his home. Made of western red cedar telephone poles, the studio is filled with authentic cowboy gear and Indian artifacts that Russell collected and used as he painted or sculpted. The sculpture garden was launched in May 2012 with four major bronze pieces on the museum grounds. The Museum Store features museum-quality gifts and collectibles, and boasts a large selection of reproduction Russell paintings. Carrying high-quality furniture, home décor, jewelry, and clothing, there is something for everyone.
The Bison: American Icon, Heart of Plains Indian Culture
The Bison: American Icon, Heart of Plains Indian Culture is the C.M. Russell Museum's newest permanent exhibition. The Bison features over 1,000 objects, including Northern Plains Indian artifacts such as clothing, regalia, tools, and weapons, a wide variety of objects crafted from bison, and works of art highlighting Northern Plains Indian culture.
The Seltzer Collection
A friend of Charlie Russell, Olaf C. Seltzer (1877'1957) carried on the tradition of Western painting. Seltzer, who emigrated from Denmark to Great Falls, shared Russell's interests, and his works depict the varied cultures, stories, and images of the American West.
The Browning Firearms Collection
John Moses Browning (1855'1926) was one of the world's most important and innovative gun makers. The Russell Museum's outstanding Browning Firearms collection includes rifles, shotguns, and handguns that survey the significant developments made by Browning and also the Winchester and Colt companies, with whom he worked.
The Schildt Collection
Gary Schildt is a painter and sculptor who focuses on contemporary Northern Plains subjects. A Blackfeet descendant, he created an important cycle of forty-three paintings showing aspects of the Okan, or Blackfeet Sundance ceremony. Gary's paintings are both documentary and beautifully impressionistic works of art.
Temporary Traveling Exhibitions enhance the Russell Museum's permanent collection. Historic and contemporary paintings, sculptures, and photographs are frequently featured. Visit www.cmrussell.org for current exhibitions and events.