State History
Learn about the history of Montana and find fun and interesting things to do and see all across Montana. We've also found the best books, guides, websites, and other resources to make your study of Montana fun and educational.
Things to See & Do in Montana
Crazy Mountain Museum
The Crazy Mountain Museum is a historical museum featuring exhibits that reflect the history of Sweet Grass County and the surrounding area. The museum is maintained by the Sweet Grass Museum Society, a non-profit organization. The Sweet Grass Museum Society has its roots in the Pioneer Society founded in the early 1900's. A permanent home was built and completed 1992 and named Crazy Mountain Museum. It is located south of Big Timber on Cemetery Road southeast of the west Interstate exit to Big Timber. The museum has evolved from a display facility located in a building on McLeod Street. In addition to displays, it now includes a research area, including a large master index for individuals mentioned in a wide variety of documents and pictures.
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
On a scorching June Sunday in 1876, thousands of Indian warriors converged on a grassy ridge rising above the valley of Montana's Little Bighorn River. On the ridge five companies of United States cavalry,including officers and troopers, fought desperately but hopelessly against many times their number. When the guns fell silent and the smoke and dust of battle lifted, no soldier survived. Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument memorializes the epic Battle of the Little Bighorn fought on June 25-26, 1876. Here in the valley of the Little Bighorn, Lt Col. George Armstrong Custer and 262 soldiers and attached personel of the 7th Cavalry, guided by Crow and Arikara scouts, met defeat and death by an overwhelming force of over 1,500 Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors.
Gallatin Historical Society Pioneer Museum
The Gallatin Historical Society, founded in 1977, moved into two rooms in the county jail building in 1979. Built in 1911, the jail was already considered an historic structure. When prisoners were moved to new quarters in January 1982, the county commissioners granted the Society use of the entire building for the Pioneer Museum. Since 1982, the Pioneer Museum has offered a variety of changing exhibits portraying earlier days in the Gallatin Valley. The Society sponsors various programs throughout the year, including the annual History Conference. The Society is also active with an ambitious outreach program, sending exhibits of photographs and artifacts to fairs, banks, schools, and conferences.
Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Established by Canadian fur trader John Grant, and expanded by cattle baron Conrad Kohrs, Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site commemorates the Western cattle industry from its 1850s inception through recent times. The park was enacted in 1972, and embraces 1,500 acres and 90 structures. The site is maintained today as a working ranch.
Western Heritage Center
The Western Heritage Center is a regional museum that interprets and reflects the life and culture of the Yellowstone River Valley. Located in downtown Billings in the former Parmly Billings Library, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Western Heritage Center cares for a collection of over 16,000 artifacts, including over 1,000 photographs that document the social history, architecture, public events and the development of the Yellowstone River Valley. Recent oral history projects have focused on interviews with elderly Yellowstone River Valley residents about farming and ranching activities, Crow and Northern Cheyenne women and Deaconess Billings Clinic personnel. This research will be used for future exhibits and publications. Scholars and students of history from throughout the United States have researched our archives and collection. The Western Heritage Press publishes material relating to the Yellowstone River Valley, including books, pamphlets and a guide to historic sites.
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
In 1804, Meriwether Lewis & William Clark began a voyage of discovery with 45 men, a keelboat, two pirogues,and a dog. They departed from Camp Wood located in what was to become Illinois. They traveled over a three-year period through lands that later became 11 states. Most of the trail follows the Missouri & Columbia Rivers. Much has changed in 200 years but trail portions remain intact. At 3700 miles, Lewis & Clark NHT is the second longest of the 23 National Scenic & National Historic Trails. It begins at Hartford, IL & passes through portions of MO, KS, IA, NE, SD, ND, MT, ID, OR, & WA. Many people follow the trail by auto; others find adventure in the sections that encourage boating, biking, or hiking. You can still see the White Cliffs in Montana as Lewis & Clark did. You may stand where they stood looking over the rolling plains at Spirit Mound in South Dakota. You might meet the descendants of the people who hosted Lewis & Clark all along the trail. It remains for your discovery.
Peter Yegen, Jr. Yellowstone County Museum
The Peter Yegen, Jr. Yellowstone County Museum in Billings collects, preserves, researches, and interprets the natural history and diverse cultures fo the Yellowstone Valley of Montana and the Northern Plains. The museum focuses on the prehistory of the plains through the 1950's. Exhibits include materials specific to ten Northern Plains Indian Tribes, western expansion, mining, cattle/sheep herding industries, transportation industries, military (1870-1950's), various medical fields, music, textiles, household goods and personal goods.
Nez Perce National Historical Park
The 38 sites of Nez Perce National Historical Park are scattered across the states of Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana and have been designated to commemorate the stories and history of the Nimiipuu and their interaction with explorers, fur traders, missionaries, soldiers, settlers, gold miners, and farmers who moved through or into the area.
Big Hole National Battlefield
Big Hole National Battlefield is a memorial to the people who fought and died here on August 9 and 10, 1877; combatants in a five month conflict that came to be called the Nez Perce War of 1877. Like other Indian Wars in the late 1800's, the Nez Perce War involved two very different groups with very different outlooks on land rights, civilian authority, government powers, social organization, and the responsibilities of the individuals to society.
Moss Mansion Historic House Museum
Step into history with a one-hour guided tour of the Moss Mansion Historic House Museum. The tour captures early turn-of-the-century life as the Preston Boyd Moss family lived it. Visitors see original draperies, fixtures, furniture, Persian carpets and artifacts displayed in the 1903 red sandstone structure. Designed by the New York architect, Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, designer of the original Waldorf Astoria, Plaza Hotels, Williard Hotel, and Copely Hotel. The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is located in Billings.
World Museum of Mining and Hell Roarin' Gulch
This 44-acre museum in Butte, Montana, preserves more than a century of American history and brings it to life. Explore more than 50 structures, ranging from the 100-foot-high headframe of the Orphan Girl Mine to a faithful recreation of a mining town, Hell Roarin' Gulch. Half of the displays focus on the cultural and ethnic history of an 1880s to 1920s mining town, while the other half provides you with a detailed look at the history of mining technology. As one of very few museums to occupy an actual historic mine site, they are uniquely able to portray the story of mining from earliest methods to modern techniques.
Teaching Tips & Ideas
Knowledge Quest
Knowledge Quest offers historical outline maps and timelines designed for the interactive study of world history and geography.
How I Teach a Large Family in a Relaxed, Classical Way: History
A look at teaching history across several grades using the classical method of education and a rotation of history every four years.
Featured Resources

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Drawn Into the Heart of Reading
Drawn Into the Heart of Reading was developed for use with students of multiple ages at the same time, perfect for the homeschooling family. It is designed for use as an entire reading program or as a supplement to an existing program for students in grades 2-8.
The Absorbent Mind
In response to the crisis in American education, more than five thousand public and private schools across the nation have adopted the timeless Montessori Method of teaching, of which this book is the cornerstone. Written by the women whose name is synonymous worldwide with child development theory, The Absorbent Mind takes its title from the phrase that the inspired Italian doctor coined to characterize the child's most crucial developmental stage: the first six years.A new foreword by John Cha...
Responsible Driving, Student Edition
This easy-to-read book features explanations of safe driving techniques and is used in many states as a textbook for in-class driving instruction. It is a great learning tool for a new driver and a good refresher for the more experienced driver.
Learning Adventures
Each book in the Learning Adventures series covers skills and concepts for grades 4-8, with a history-based approach. Each contains a year's worth of lesson plans in a daily format. All subjects except math are covered.
Greenleaf Press
Greenleaf Press is a small family-owned and operated publisher and supplier of quality books for children. They are committed to "twaddle-free", living books, and approach teaching history to children using biography and chronology. You will find sections in the catalog covering each major historical period in order, with a variety of biographies, reference books, and historical fiction. For Israel, Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance and Reformation there are Greenleaf Stu...