Range Rider Museum in Miles City
When you come to Miles City the Range Rider Museum is a must see!
The Range Rider Association was formed in 1939 by a group of cowboys and stockmen who wanted to preserve the memory of the pioneer range rider. Their existence was a significant part of eastern Montana's heritage. In 1940, the men held their first reunion, with membership open to anyone who had ridden the open range before 1910. They felt that building a museum, with a focus on the western heritage and history of events that occurred within a 150 mile radius of Miles City, was the best way to preserve the memories. The log building was completed in 1942 on the site where General Nelson Miles had constructed the Fort Keogh Cantonment #1 in 1876, after the Custer Battle on the Bighorn. Over 500 brands may be seen in the original log building today.
The Museum complex has grown to include thirteen buildings, with thousands of artifacts and displays. The military at Fort Keogh, the Indians, the livestock industry and cattle drives, the wagon trains, homesteaders, riverboats and railroads are all represented throughout the Museum. The works of 4 early photographers - R.C. Morrison, L.A. Huffman, Evelyn Cameron and Christian Barthelmess - are featured here. You will also see tools and treasures from pioneer days, Indian artifacts from the Sioux, Cheyenne and Crow Tribes, as well as the Bert Clark Gun Room, featuring over 350 firearms from one man's collection. The Fort Keogh Officer's Quarters, Pioneer Home, Heritage Center, Wagon barn, and more, are filled with donated items.
The Range Riders Association places a special value on the individual lives of the early settlers. Approximately 1,000 photographs of these people hang in the Pioneer Memorial Hall. Each person's biography is recorded and stored in a metal tube below the photograph. These pioneers will be forever honored and remembered in this Museum.
Charley's Place features pictures of 400 nurses who graduated from Holy Rosary Nursing School between 1920 and 1960, the Masterson Art Gallery displays of various medical equipment from the era, including an iron lung, and dozens of boots, saddles, and other western memorabilia.
The Pioneer Home is an actual home brought from its original location to the museum grounds. All of the contents of this home are from pioneer times, reflecting the efficiency and utility that was necessary for life on the prairie.
The Fort Keogh exhibit includes a detailed scale model of Fort Keogh, as well as photos of soldiers, actual uniforms, guns, and saddles, and original documents from Fort activities. Fort Keogh functioned not only as a military fort, but later as a remount station where thousands of war horses were trained to ride and haul freight for the English, French, Italian, and US armies. The museum is also home to one of the original Officer Quarters that was moved from the Fort to its current location on museum grounds.
The Old Miles Town exhibit depicts eleven businesses along the boardwalk of Main Street. Viewers can visit and experience what the original jail, saloon, retail stores, and hotel were like.
The LO Ranch diorama provides visitor with a visual depiction of what one of the largest cattle ranches of the day looked like. Viewers can listen to the history of what life on the ranch was like, and learn much about the western heritage of those days.
The Old Milwaukee Railroad roundhouse train station and train yard are depicted in a detailed scale model of this unique operation. Viewers can learn what an important role the railroads played in this era of eastern Montana's development
The spacious wagon barn houses the Museum's rolling stock of buggies, wagons, stage coaches, fire engines, delivery and pleasure rigs, and sheep, cattle and freight outfits.
The Range Riders Museum is an anchor tenant of Miles City and eastern Montana history. It operates solely on private contributions, memberships, and admission fees. Should you wish to play a part in the continuance of this remarkable facility, they offer ways to help in becoming a member, tax free donations, shopping the gift shop, placing your brand on the fence and other opportunities.
So when you come stay with us take a two minute trip down the road to the Range Riders Museum. If you come in off exit 135, you will see it on your left just before the bridge that brings you to our park. It is amazing to see, and after all the recent shows about the old west you too can see a piece of it for yourself.