Waterworks Art Museum, Montana

Kurt Norris
Last Updated: February 27th, 2023

Formerly known as the Custer County Art and Heritage Center, the Waterworks Art Museum is a non-profit organization and cultural leader in Southeastern Montana.

The museum aims to provide public access to high-quality- interpretive exhibits and educational resources that help foster the local art scene of the state.

What Is the Waterworks Art Museum?

Established in 1977, the Waterworks Art Museum is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Miles City. Constructed in 1910, the building served as the Water Works responsible for supplying the city’s drinking water for over 60 years.

Today, the historic building is a 10,000-square-foot gallery and workspace and features some of Montana’s premier artistic pieces.

Representing a wide variety of mediums and styles, the museum’s extensive galleries include regional and national exhibits produced by solo artists and group collectives.

What Is There to See and Do at the Waterworks Art Museum?

to see at waterworks art museum

As a cultural hub of Miles City and Southeastern Montana, the Waterworks Art Museum offers guests plenty of exhibits and activities to help facilitate engagement with Montana’s art community.

Exhibits and Events

The museum’s dynamic gallery floors feature a variety of rotating exhibits presented throughout the year. With each show only being displayed for two or three months, the museum always seems to have something new to engage its return visitors.

Along with its three rotating exhibits that differ yearly, the museum also features one annual presentation. From August to September, the museum displays an Annual Art Auction Exhibit on its Galleries’ floors.

The pieces differ yearly and guests are invited to partake in the event as the museum’s largest annual fundraiser.

Before visiting, be sure to check out what exhibits are currently being displayed on the gallery floors. Or, if you are still in the planning process of your Montana trip, then check out the museum’s upcoming exhibits to see what will be displayed during the time of your travels.

Permanent Collection

The Waterworks Art Museum maintains a permanent collection of art that includes contemporary and historical selections. However, to preserve the works, not all pieces are available for public exploration full time.

Instead, the museum’s diverse collection of permanent pieces is displayed in a rotating gallery. Not only does this help preserve the historical works, but it also provides guests the opportunity to fully explore the themes and elements that makes each piece unique.

Some of the more alluring pieces featured in the museum’s permanent collection are the Miles City Vintage Photographs taken by such notable photographers as Christian Barthelmess, Lady Evelyn Cameron, Robert C. Morrison, Albert Schlichting, Edward S. Curtis, and the famous L.A. Huffman.

Travelling Show

With so many great art pieces to display, the Waterworks Art Museum can only feature so many exhibits with its limited gallery space.

So instead, the museum has decided to share its diverse collection of art with other regions of Montana through its traveling collection.

Each year, the museum selects a new exhibit to take on the road. Throughout the year, the exhibition is featured in a variety of Museums across Montana, where it is only displayed for a limited time of about a month.

Check out the Waterworks Art Museum’s Traveling Collection schedule to see when the museum’s next exhibit will be visiting a museum near you.

What Kind of Educational Resources Does the Waterworks Museum Offer?

Beyond its diverse collection of exhibits, the Waterworks Art Museum invites community members to engage with Montana’s art scene through various public classes and events.

Youth Classes

From classes to Summer Camps, the Waterworks Art Museum offers many public youth programs in its community services.

Through these programs, children are invited to explore the many elements of the museum’s interpretive art through fun and engaging methods. The museum aims to help foster creativity and imagination in the minds of young artists as they delve into the historical influences of Montana’s art scene.

Check out the museum’s school outreach program for more information.

Adult Classes

It is never too late to learn a new artistic skill, and the Waterworks Art Museum offers several programs for adults to explore their creative side.

The museum invites guests out for a night of socialization and artistry with fun and engaging classes for adults of all ages.

Waterworks Art Museum Adult Programs range from a diverse selection of classes to a Ceramics Open Studio. Check out the museum’s Adult Programming Schedule for a complete list of upcoming classes.

Community Outreach

To promote community engagement, the Waterworks Art Museum offers an Artist-in-Schools and Communities outreach program for teachers, students, and community groups throughout Southeastern Montana.

The museum offers a 2 – 4 day clay workshop for junior high and high school students and 1 & 2-day classes in ceramics, drawing, painting, and traditional arts and crafts from around the world.

What Are Some Ways an Artist Can Have Their Work Featured at the Waterworks Art Museum?

The Waterworks Art Museum’s mission is to provide widespread access to Montana’s interpretative art scene to the state’s communities, including providing local artists with a space to display their work.

The museum offers artists two ways to submit their work for review.

Artists Submissions

All artists are welcome to submit their portfolios for review in the Waterworks Art Museum’s Artists Submission Form. Here artists will be asked for a quick biography, a statement, and a link to their recent works.

All submissions will be reviewed, and chosen artists will be contacted about having their pieces exhibited in the museum’s gallery.

Annual Juried Shows

Another method that the museum uses to invite artists to submit their work is through their Annual Juried Show. The museum invites guests to submit pieces to be judged in the annual contest each year.

The contest costs $35 for up to three entries, with cash rewards totaling $1000 to the pieces chosen by the juror and to the winners of the director’s and people’s choice awards.

How to Visit the Waterworks Art Museum

visit the waterworks art museum
Image: wtrworks

The Waterworks Art Museum is located at 85 Water Plant Rd Miles City, MT 59301, USA.

The museum offers free admission, but donations are appreciated.

From October 1 to April 30, the museum is open from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Tuesday through Saturday.

The museum experiences extended hours throughout the summer and are open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Tuesday through Saturday, From May 1 to September 30.

For more information, call (406) 234-0635.


The Waterworks Art Museum is a cultural center of Southeastern Montana and strives to supply diverse visual art opportunities to its community and international visitors.

Through their historic permanent collection, the series of exhibits rotating through their galleries, and the myriad of public events and classes, the museum works to foster creativity and learning within the general public.

Be sure to visit the museum to explore the history of Montana’s interpretive art scene and the current methods by which the museum works to foster the community’s art of tomorrow.

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About The Author

Kurt Norris

A Canada-based freelance writer, Kurt acquired his bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Windsor. Upon graduating, Kurt left the courtside media desk behind and began venturing the globe. Throughout his journeys, Kurt enjoys partaking in slow travel and loves to explore the histories and cultures of each destination, which he shares with others through his writing.

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