Museum of the Plains Indian

Location

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Latitude: 48.556217194 Longitude: -113.022796631 Elevation: 4380 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Colleen M. Barcus

A Short Introduction to the Site

The Museum of the Plains Indian, founded in 1941, displays richly varied arts of Northern Plains Tribes, including the Blackfeet, Crow, Northern Cheyenne, Sioux, Assiniboine, Arapaho, Shoshone, Nez Perce, Flathead, Chippewa, and Cree. Their historic clothing, horse gear, weapons, household implements, baby carriers, and toys highlight the exhibits. A series of promotional sales exhibitions introduces unsurpassed contemporary American Indian art and crafts by emerging artists and craftspeople.

Full Description of the Historical Site or Museum

The Museum of the Plains Indian exhibits the creative achievements of Native American artists and craftspeople of the United States. A permanent exhibit presents the rich diversity of historic arts of the tribal peoples of the Northern Plains, and two special exhibition galleries are devoted to changing presentations promoting the creative works of outstanding talented contemporary Native American artists and craftspeople.

Merle (Chippewa Cree) and Nicole (Laguna) Big Bow will be exhibiting their art at the Museum beginning February 15, 2000. Merle carves chief staffs, paints buckskin, and stretches rawhide over bows, and Nicole beads and finishes many of Merle’s art pieces. Their awards include a 1st place antler sculpture at the 15th annual Eiteljorg Indian Market as well as 2nd and 3rd places for a rattle and drum in the 2005 Santa Fe Indian Market.

Architectural decorations of the Museum building, all devoted to historic Indian cultural subjects, include two carved wood panels at the entrance by the noted Blackfeet sculptor, John Clarke, and a series of murals in the lobby by Victor Pepion, Blackfeet artist.

During the summer season visitors may also view a monument dedicated to a 1931 sign language conference attended by an intertribal group of experts in Plains Indian hand gesture language.

Highlighting the historic exhibits is a display of the varied traditional costumes of Northern Plains men, women, and children, presented in complete detail on life-size figures. Other historic displays are devoted to numerous art forms related to the social and ceremonial aspects of the tribal cultures of the region.

The Museum of the Plains Indian, administered by the Indian Arts and Crafts Board of the U.S. Department of the Interior, has an annual calendar of events that are posted regularly. Works of art for sale in the Museum galleries will include oil paintings, watercolors, sculptures, beadwork, and traditional crafts.

For permission to photograph in the galleries, inquire at the information desk, or call (406) 338-2230. Photography is prohibited in the craft shop operated by the Northern Plains Indian Crafts Association. In addition to the Museum of the Plains Indian, the Indian Arts and Crafts Board administers the Sioux Indian Museum in Rapid City, South Dakota, and the Southern Plains Indian Museum in Anadarko, Oklahoma.

 

Open Months

Year Round, June 1 - Sept. 30 (Summer - Admission charge) and Oct. 1 - May 30 (Winter - Free admission but closed weekends)

Hours Open

June 1 - Sept. 30 hours are 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM; Oct. 1 - May 30 hours are 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Driving Directions from Nearest Town or Landmark

The Museum of the Plains Indian is located at the junction of US Highway 2 & Montana 89 on the west side of Browning Montana.

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