Westward Expansion
Things to See & Do in Montana
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Featured Resources

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