C. M. Russell Museum

Great Falls, MT

(406) 727-8787


C. M. Russell Museum Expansion Coming


Artist's Rendering of Expanded Museum

The C. M. Russell Museum plans to expand the Museum by approximately 30,000 square feet.

The C.M. Russell Museum has grown tremendously from its inauspicious beginnings in 1953. Josephine Trigg's personal collection of C.M. Russell works, gifts from Charlie himself to Josephine and her parents, Albert and Margaret, provided the inspiration for the C.M. Russell Gallery, which opened to the public in 1953. Interest in Russell continued to grow, donations were freely offered, and the building was significantly expanded in 1969 and 1985. The name was officially changed to the C.M. Russell Museum in 1972, a reflection of growth in both collections and facilities.

Today, in 1999, the C.M. Russell Museum enjoys a national reputation, and is the only museum in the world that is able to present the complete picture of Charlie Russell: his artworks, personal collections of artifacts, his home, and his log cabin studio, which remains much as it was in Charlie's day.

The Museum now finds itself dealing with severe space restrictions. Continued growth in collections and programs necessitates significant space additions to accommodate a myriad of needs. For example, the Museum currently has no viable area for hands-on workshops. These types of programs are currently held in the Museum's public galleries, Carpeted floors restrict the types of hands-on activities that can be held there, and the limited size of the galleries restricts the number of potential participants to generally around 25 people. The addition of specific event and program space will allow the Museum to expand the scope of its public programs. The new galleries will provide more exhibits and information about Russell and his artworks; other western artists; the American Indian culture; and a hands-on gallery for children.

"Public interest in Charlie Russell as well as western art and our Montana heritage has demanded that we provide more to our community and to our visitors," noted Museum Executive Director Lorne Render. "This expansion will allow the C.M. Russell Museum to present a more complete picture of Russell's life and art, as well as many aspects of the West. Together with the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and the upcoming Ulm Pishkun Buffalo Jump Interpretive Center, we will make Great Falls truly a center of Montana's cultural history that will excite our community as well as visitors from throughout the West and beyond."

The expansion will also include a larger gift shop, a glass-topped atrium and coffee area, and an outdoor sculpture garden. In addition, the Frederic G. Renner Library and Research Center will be expanded and made available to scholars, students and art enthusiasts.

Upon the success of the fund raising in the Spring of 1999, construction is scheduled to begin in the Fall of 1999, and current plans place the opening of the expanded building in early 2001. At this time it is believed that the Museum will be able to remain open during construction.

Read more about the C. M. Russell Museum in the Resource Library

For further biographical information on an artist cited in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 10/18/10

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