Montana Historical Society

Big Sky ~ Big History

Museum and research center closed for renovations. For more info, call (406) 444-2694.

Photograph Collections


The Library & Archives collects photographic materials in a variety of formats. Approximately 500,000 images document the diverse history of Montana and the lives and accomplishments of its people. They include the work of amateurs and professionals who have captured the faces of the state's inhabitants, immortalized its landscape, and recorded its agricultural, industrial and technological developments. We also house several state agency photograph collections.

Search the catalog

How to search for photographs only

Photograph search

  1. Click the Search the catalog button.
  2. Within the online catalog, enter relevant search terms in the search box, and then press ENTER or click Search.
  3. Next, at the far left, under Limit Search Results, in Location, select the check box next to Photograph Archives, and then click Include. Your search results will be filtered so that only items in our photograph collections appear.


Digitized Photographs

We have thousands of our photographs digitized and accessible through the Montana History Portal. Visit our Collections Page on the MHP to browse our digitized photograph collections.


Photograph collections arranged by subject

Agriculture Collection

Shows rural life in Montana, 1880-1960. It includes views of livestock, crops, farm and ranch buildings, and irrigation projects.

North American Indian Collection

Documents Native American life after white settlement began in Montana. It contains portraits of tribal leaders, views of ceremonies, dances, dwellings and reservation life.

Mining Collection

Traces the history of placer and underground mining in Montana, 1860s-1960s. It documents mines, smelters, and mining equipment.


Photograph collections arranged by photographer

Christian Barthelmess Collection

Gives a glimpse of military life on the frontier, 1888 to 1906. It includes portraits of Native Americans and buildings at Fort Keogh.

Evelyn Jephson Cameron Collection

Reflects her interest in birds and other Montana wildlife and contains views of homesteading and ranching activities and scenery, 1895-1920.

Haynes Foundation Collection

24,000 images includes photographs taken by F. Jay Haynes (1853-1921) and his son, Jack Ellis Haynes (1884-1962) of the construction and operation of the Northern Pacific Railroad and the historical events and scenic beauty of Yellowstone National Park.

Laton Alton Huffman Collection

Records cowboys and ranch life in eastern Montana, Crow and Cheyenne Indians, the slaughter of buffalo, and the Custer Trail Expedition in 1916.

Warren McGee Collection

40,000 photographs, negatives and slides captures images of railroad locomotives from every significant railroad line that operated in Montana, 1930s-1990s.


State agency photograph collections

Montana Travel Promotion Unit Collection

Montana Aeronautics Commission Collection

Montana Department of Transportation Collection


Find out more about our photograph collections

For general information about our photograph holdings, contact us at 406-444-4739 or For information on permissions, contact Jeff Malcomson at  406-444-0261 or


Bear Chief, a Fine Blackfeet Type. N. A. Forsyth. Date Unknown. ST 001.297