Montana Historical Society

Big Sky ~ Big History

Museum Tours

The Montana Historical Society is located at 225 North Roberts, Helena

The Montana Historical Society Museum, also known as "Montana's Museum," features both long-term and temporary exhibits. Currently, the education program offers a variety of docent-led, age-appropriate tours of the Montana Homeland exhibit, Neither Empty nor Unknown: Montana at the Time of Lewis and Clark exhibit, and the Mackay Gallery of Charles M. Russell Art. Pre-visit and post-visit lessons for some tours are also available on-line for teachers to complete with their students before and after their visits to the Museum. Note: Our “Neither Empty Nor Unknown” and “Homeland” exhibits will close on October 1.

Group tours of the Museum - whether docent-led or self-guided - are offered free of charge to school groups and other youth organizations. For adult groups and bus tours, the cost is $5.00 per person.

To schedule a tour call (406) 444-4794 or email

Tour Options

Neither Empty nor Unknown: Montana at the Time of Lewis and Clark exhibit

Montana at the Time of Lewis and Clark (all ages) - This exhibit will show Montana c.1805 through replica landforms, art and illustration, Indian artifacts, Native-made reproductions, taxidermy and plant specimens. It will also illustrate the rich, diverse and abundant plant and animal species found in Montana's environment at that time and will provide participatory activities throughout the exhibit that both children and adults will enjoy.

Indian Touch and Learn (Grades K-3) - Explore how the bison provided for the Indians through the use of hands-on artifacts, and compare and contrast life today with the lifeways of Montana Indians 200 years ago. 

Learning through Stories (grades 4-7) - This interactive tour uses indigenous peoples' stories and personal narratives to bring the exhibit alive. Teachers can download the pre- and post-tour lesson plans and preview the tour here.

Ethnobotany Tour and activity (grades 6-8) - Although we think of wild game (mainly the buffalo) as the main source of Montana Indians primary sustenance, we often overlook the role played by plants. This guided tour will provide students with an understanding of how Montana's First People used their natural environment to provide for their everyday needs.

Pre and Post Visit Lessons: Find lesson plans and discussion questions for grades 4-7 in the Storytelling Tour Lesson plan. For middle school classes, find additional resources on Chapter 3 ("from Dog Days to Horse Warriors") and Chapter 4 ("Newcomers Explore the Region") sections of the Montana: Stories of the Land Companion Website, including a PDFs of the relevant textbook chapters. 

Mackay Gallery of Charles M. Russell Art

Russell's Rascals (Grades 2-3) - Uncover stories about cowboys, Indians, and animals in Charlie Russell's art, as well as how paintings can express emotions and communicate sensory messages. Family Guide to the MacKay Gallery of C.M. Russell Art.

Russell Round-up (Grades 4-7) - Interact with the art of Charles M. Russell, Montana's Cowboys Artist, and discover how he used his cowboy experiences as a basis for the stories in his paintings. Students learn art-analysis skills and episodes from Montana history as depicted by Russell. Includes gallery activity. Family Guide to the Mackay Gallery of C.M. Russell Art.

Russell's West (Grades 8-12) - Survey the art of Charles M. Russell and see how he captured the romantic myth of the West in the stories and historical events, real and mythical, he portrayed on canvas. Includes gallery activity.

Montana's Cowboy Artist: C.M. Russell (all ages) - Charles M. Russell captured the romantic myth of the West in the stories of his paintings. Visitors will see how Russell captured historical events, real and mythical, on canvas.

Montana's Charlie Russell: A Visit with Nancy Cooper Russell (Grade 3 through adult) - Tour the gallery with first-person interpreter Mary Jane Bradbury as she shares Nancy Russell's perspective on  Charlie's story.

Pre and Post Visit Lessons: Choose from the PowerPoints, lesson plans, and other resources created as part of the "Montana's Charlie Russell" Curriculum.

How to Schedule a Tour of the Museum

Please contact us at least two weeks in advance. For tours planned during legislative sessions or the month of May, it is advisable to make arrangements a month in advance as these time slots fill early.

To book a tour, please call (406) 444-4794 or email To facilitate the process please provide the following information:

  • Preferred Tour Date
  • Preferred Tour Times
  • Size and grade level/age of your group
  • Special needs or considerations
  • Which tours you would like

Once we have scheduled your tour, we will mail you a reservation confirmation form, and if applicable, an invoice for your admission fee. Payment can either be made in advance or at the time of your visit.

Would You Prefer to Tour the Museum on Your Own?

Students and youth groups are welcome to tour the Society without a guide. We require that you provide one adult chaperone for every ten students, and that the chaperone remains with the students at all times while visiting the buildings.
To help ensure an enjoyable visit and avoid any potential conflicts or disappointments, we suggest that you call us at (406) 444-4794 or email to inform us of your proposed arrival dates and times, and the number of students in your group. We also recommend that teachers provide students with in-gallery assignments or activities to be make sure that they receive the most benefit from their visits.