The Charles Russell Museum is a fine art museum located in Great Falls, Montana that features the most comprehensive and complete collection of this legendary Montana artist's work in the world. C.M. Russell is renowned fine artist who dedicated his life to capturing the beauty and majesty of life in the West as it was during the 1800's and early 1900's. The museum's permanent collection alone consists of over 12,000 individual works of fine art and personal objects. The greater portion of these is encompassed by the Trigg Collection, a body of work considered to showcase the breadth and expanse of Russell's work to an exceptionally high degree.
An entire suite of five corresponding galleries, collectively called The Art and Soul of the West, is part of the permanent collection and is devoted to Mr. Russell's work at various times of his life, introducing visitors to the artist one stage at a time. One of the five galleries is dedicated to the young version of C.M. Russell and showcases many examples of his early work, as well as rare sculptures, personal papers, and letters that offer visitors a personal look into the artist's early life. Other galleries document his first years in Montana and depict a myriad of sweeping cowboy, bison, and Native American images. Yet another of the five galleries, and one of the most popular in the entire museum, displays a collection of Russell's world-famous illustrated letters that he wrote to friends, family, and acquaintances.
Also featured as part of the museum's extensive collection are works of art by many of Russell's most talented and well-respected contemporaries. These world- renowned artists include but are not limited to Winold Reiss, Olaf Wieghorst, O.C Seltzer, J.H. Sharp, and E.I. Couse. A comprehensive and popular collection of Browning Firearms pieces that focus on the history of firearm design as it developed through the ages is also on display, rounding out the museum's collection and historical significance as a whole quite nicely.
The C.M. Russell Museum also features various changing exhibits as well which allows them to showcase a greater portion of their permanent collection at one time. Changing exhibits have at various times focused on such themes as closer looks at the American bison, special art collections featuring the lives of the American Blackfeet Indians, and various exhibitions featuring other renowned and talented artists associated with Montana.
Also housed within the museum complex to round out the experience for patrons is C.M. Russell's former log cabin home and studio. It has been carefully restored and preserved to remain as it was in the 1900's when it served as home and workspace to Russell himself. It also contains many of Russell's personal objects and other props, the better to give viewers an authentic idea of what it would have looked like at the time.
In addition to its extensive collection of Western art and artifacts, the C.M. Russell Museum is also known for the many community programs and workshops it offers for students, as well as the community at large. It is also open and available for rent for those interested in hosting their private events - including but not limited to weddings, gatherings, board meetings, and celebrations - in the awesome presence of fine local art.