Museum Of The Plains Indians, Browning

Will Beck
Last Updated: March 4th, 2023

Seeking to promote education and cultural awareness of the Indigenous First Nations of America in the Plains region, the Museum of the Plains Indians is home to artifacts, artwork, and more presenting the history and culture of the nation.

What’s the History of the Museum of the Plains?

history of the museum of the plains indians
Image: National Archives and Records Administration

The museum was founded in 1941 by the Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB), U.S. Department of Interior.

The IACB was created in 1935 by an act of Congress, with the intent of promoting the economic development of federally recognized Native Americans and Alaska Natives (i.e., First Nations) through the expansion of the arts and crafts market.

The museum focuses on the Northern Plains Tribal peoples including Flathead, Chippewa, Cree, Northern Cheyenne, Crow, Blackfeet, Assiniboine, Shoshone, Nez Perce, Sioux, and Arapaho.

The exhibits at the museum feature the clothing, horse tack, household tools, and implements, baby carriers, toys, and weapons of the Nations, as well as both historic and contemporary arts and crafts.

What is there to do and see at the Museum of the Plains?

museum of the plains
Image: Henry Farny

This hidden gem among the museums of the West is located near the Glacier National Park in Browning, Montana.

The museum offers permanent exhibits featuring artifacts and artwork that present the rich history of the Peoples of the Plains, with two galleries that rotate presentations of creative works of contemporary Indigenous artists of the region.

The museum itself is a work of Native art, with two carved wood panels at the entrance created by noted Blackfeet sculptor John Clarke, and a series of murals by Victor Pepion, Blackfeet artist, displayed in the lobby.

In the museum, you’ll have the opportunity to the stunning, vibrant traditional costumes of Northern Plains children, women, and men, displayed on life-size figures.

Other displays feature the varying art forms used in social and ceremonial aspects of the cultures of the region.

What Special Events going on at the Museum of the Plains Indians?

Image: Walters Art Museum

The annual calendar at the museum is typically full of events centered around gallery showings, community events, presentations, and more.

During these events – and at other times – works of art may be found for sale in the museum galleries. These works may include oil paintings, sculptures, beadwork, traditional crafts, and watercolors.

How do I find out What’s Going on at the Museum of the Plains Indians?

The museum is open year-round, with varying hours and admission fees based on the season. To better understand, please view the details below to help plan your visit accordingly.

  • 19 Museum Loop, Browning, MT
  • 406-338-2230
  • Winter Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 11 am to 3 pm
  • Summer Hours: Tuesdays to Saturday 10 am to 4:30 pm
  • Closed Sundays and Mondays year-round
  • Season: Year-round
  • Fees: October to May free; June to September adults $6, Children 6 to 16 $2, children under 2 free
  • Discounts: Seniors over 65 $5, school groups free, Groups of 10+ $5 each, Blackfeet Tribal members free

Museum of the Plains Indians–Conclusion

To learn more about the First Nations people groups of the Western Plains, a visit to the Museum of the Plains Indians is a perfect choice.

Here you’ll see beautiful displays of the artwork (both contemporary and historical), artifacts, photographs, and others to learn about the history and culture of the peoples.

Be sure to check the calendar for opening hours and admission fees – which are both based on the season – and prepare for a wonderful day of exploration and learning.

If you’re in the market for some splendid art and want to support local artists, come prepared with shopping in mind as you view beadwork, watercolors, oil paintings, sculptures, and more for sale from contemporary Indigenous artists from the region.

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About The Author

Will Beck

Will is a true digital nomad, taking his work on the road at every opportunity. His first love is coffee, with travel a close 2nd. He loves nothing more than hitting the road in his self-build campervan and visiting off-the-beaten-path places, away from popular tourist destinations.

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