The Montana Historical Society, founded in 1865, collects, preserves, and interprets fine art, historical, archaeological, and ethnological artifacts that pertain to Montana and its adjoining geographic region. Montana’s Museum is where history and land come together in the story of the people who have called Montana home. Located near the State Capitol in Helena, the museum is an essential part of a meaningful travel experience in Montana. Exhibits include the Homeland which examines life in Montana and how its people adapted; the Mackay Gallery of C. M. Russell Art offers 80 stunning art pieces by Montana’s celebrated cowboy artist; and Neither Empty Nor Unknown interprets Montana and its Native people at the time of Lewis and Clark.
Montana in 1804-1806 was neither empty nor uncharted wilderness. Neither Empty Nor Unknown features Montana’s flora and fauna and its Native nations as the tapestry through which the thread of the Corps of Discovery is woven–often unseen–beneath other, vibrant patterns. Landforms and regions represent the breadth of Montana landscapes and the depth of its living communities. Each of the areas featured figured prominently in the discoveries and contacts of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Explorers’ quotes and observations enhance the experience, but the sites they described were also spiritually and/or economically important to Native peoples. These special places serve as the vehicle for the interpretation of Montana’s Native life-ways and culture.