Step back in time and learn about Gallatin County’s heritage. Visit the Gallatin History Museum in Bozeman, which offers a unique glimpse into the area’s past. In addition to jail cells and a hanging gallows, the museum maintains displays illustrating the unique histories of a variety of people who have called Southwest Montana home. Permanent exhibits include the history of American Indian tribes in the Gallatin Valley, a model of old Fort Ellis, the infamous Big Horn Gun, historical fashions, and even a porcelain doll that belonged to a girl who came to Bozeman by wagon in 1864.
The museum also boasts a photo archive with more than 25,000 historic images that can be reproduced for a small fee. There is a research library that includes a special Lewis and Clark collection and files on many Gallatin County communities and families. The bookstore has hard-to-find materials dealing with the history of Gallatin County for sale at reasonable prices.
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 a historic structure. When prisoners were moved to the new Law and Justice Building in January 1982, the county commissioners granted the Society use of the entire building for a museum. The Pioneer Museum was created and in 2014 the name changed to Gallatin History Museum to better reflect the collection and the mission of the organization - to preserve, promote and foster the history of Gallatin County and Southwest Montana.
The Gallatin History Museum is a 501(c)(3) non profit and is operated by the Gallatin Historical Society. It is not a County agency and does not receive any tax dollars, but instead relies strictly on memberships, donations, and memorials to operate. Members receive a quarterly magazine that features articles on local history, free admission to the museum and discounts in the bookstore.