The Big Horn County Museum of Hardin, Montana, is by far the state’s largest historical museum. If you’re ever in the area, you won’t want to miss this gem. The museum showcases the area’s rich heritage and provides educational settings appropriate for each age group, no matter the audience.
Top 10 Things to See at Big Horn County Museum – Hardin Montana
Whether you love Native American artifacts or are wanting to learn more about the Battle of Little Bighorn, this museum will allow you to dive much deeper. Here’s more information that you’ll want to know before you get to the Big Horn County Historical Museum.
This is one of the great things to do when visiting Billings Montana as well.
What is the Big Horn County Museum?
Most museums that you visit, are confined to a single building. Not so with this museum. You can walk the entire museum complex, which is made up of 26 historic buildings that have been relocated and now rest on 35 acres.
There are many exhibits including old tractors, horse-drawn wagons, antique cars, and an old railroad depot. If you’re there at the right time, you might even get to witness a cannon-firing demonstration.
They host mostly self-guided tour but offer guided ones as well. They also have many educational events with reenactments and hands-on activities. As you walk the grounds there are wooden boardwalks to make navigating very easy
This museum is constantly growing and adapting, to create an educational experience that’s exciting at the same time. The main building consists of the main gallery and visitor center.
Big Horn County Museum Information
Big Horn County Museum is located 15 miles from the Battle of Little Bighorn National Monument. It only costs $6 for adults and $5 for seniors, while students aged 7-18 are $3. Private tours are available.
Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop at the end of your visit for souvenirs and other collectibles. You can even have lunch outside at their sheltered picnic area during your visit. The museum can even host weddings and reunions on the property.
During the summer, Memorial Day to Labor Day they are open daily from 8 am to 6 pm. During the winter from Labor Day to Memorial Day they are open Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.
Top 10 Things to See at Big Horn County Museum
Lodge Grass CB & Q Railroad Depot – This railroad depot was opened in the small town of Lodge Grass, Montana in 1906. The first floor consists of a waiting room, freight rooms and the agent’s office with early day equipment.
Upstairs served as a home to the depot agent. Rooms include a living room, a kitchen and two bedrooms. There are many displays set up with photos and information including railroad tracks and a few train cars out front.
Corinth Store and Post Office – This store was built in Corinth Montana and was the town’s source of not only groceries but mail as well.
L. R. Good of Sheridan and his wife, who ran the store, had a small living area at the back of the store which can be seen set up as is was back in the early 1900s.
Next door is the Fly Inn gas station with restored pumps and a few vintage cars.
Halfway School House – This schoolhouse was built in 1922 and was a typical country school for the area. It would serve children from first to eighth grade. As the roads slowly improved these schools would be shut down and kids would ride busses to the larger schools. While walking through you can see a full set up classroom with teachers’ desk, student desks, blackboard, books shelves and more.
Crow Tepee – Located inside the visitor center museum is a Crow Native American Tepee. You can learn the history of the making of one of them. Like how it would take 20 buffalo hides to make one.
The inside is also set up so you can see how it would have been used. Which is great for kids to see as they are learning.
Will James Studio and Cabins – Will James moved to Montana from Quebec, Canada to be a cowboy. In 1927 his dream was achieved when he purchased 4,000 acres on East Pryor Creek in Big Horn County, Montana. The ranch is still called to this day the “Rocking R Ranch”.
James was good storytelling and artist too. In 1926, he wrote the book “Smoky the Cow Horse“, which received the Newbery Award. Over his life, he wrote 24 books about cowboy life. These cabins are from the “Rocking R Ranch”, one of which served as Will’s studio and you can see all about his life.
Fort Custer on Big Horn Exhibit – In the museum there is an exhibit about Fort Custer which sat on the land across the street from the museum from 1877 to 1898. You can see uniforms and artifacts from Custer’s men.
Trading Post – Also located inside the museum is a reconstructed trading post set up just like the ones in this area of Montana would be. Thre is information on what would have been traded for the locals and the Native Americans.
E & R Church Reformed German Lutheran Church – This church is from Hardin Montana and was built in 1917. It was the first building moved to the museum back in 1981.
Inside you can see the original pews, pulpit, and organ. Many weddings and church services are still held here all year long.
Fort Custer – Rock Springs Stage Coach – In the museum, there is a stagecoach from Fort Custer. You can learn a bit more about the fort and how people traveled back in the late 1800s. There is a display fo an outfit a woman would have worn on the coast as well.
Camp Custer Cabins – These cabins were built in 1927 on the old Custer Highway. It was a complex of 4 cabins with everything someone who need including a shower room, office, and restaurant.
Each cabin had a little cooking and eating area along with a sleeping area. Some would have twin beds and some had doubles.
Even if you’re not a huge history guru, the Big Horn County Museum is one you don’t want to pass up. If you’ve visited this museum in the past, tell us about your experience and what your family thought about it.