Museum of the Rockies: Wikis


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Coordinates: 45°39′53″N 111°02′59″W / 45.66472°N 111.04972°W / 45.66472; -111.04972

Museum of the Rockies
Location 600 W. Kagy Boulevard, Bozeman, Montana, USA
Website Museum of the Rockies

The Museum of the Rockies, affiliated with Montana State University in Bozeman and the Smithsonian Institution, is located in Bozeman, Montana, and is known for its paleontological collections despite dinosaurs not being its sole focus. The museum houses the largest collection of dinosaur remains in the United States and possesses the largest Tyrannosaurus skull ever discovered as well as the thigh bone of a Tyrannosaurus rex that contains soft-tissue remains.[1] The museum is also part of the Montana Dinosaur Trail and is the state's official repository for paleontological specimens.

The museum's collection about the physical and cultural history of the Rocky Mountains and the people and animals who have lived there dates back more than 500 million years. Its permanent exhibits include: Enduring Peoples, which chronicles the life of American Indians on the Northern Plains and near the Rocky Mountains; History of the Northern Rocky Mountain Region, whose inhabitants included Native Americans, fur traders, gold seekers, and white settlers from frontier days through World War II; Living History Farm, which includes the Tinsley House where costumed interpreters demonstrate life in a turn-of-the-century home; and the Taylor Planetarium, a 40 ft (12 m), 104-seat domed theater.



Cowboys and Indians exhibit

The Museum of the Rockies exists to preserve and tell the stories of Montana and the Northern Rockies in order to educate visitors about the region's rich history, which includes but is not limited to its rich paleontological roots.[2] The museum was founded in 1957 due in part to a gift from Caroline McGill and the museum's collection has grown to 300,000 objects that cover more than 500,000,000 years of history. The museum frequently offers symposiums allowing Native Americans, whose tribes called the region home, to share their stories with visitors.[3] In 2005, the Museum became an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, which provided the museum with greater access to the collections and programs of the Smithsonian.[4]

Traveling exhibits that visit the museum cover topics as diverse as African American art,[5] television and film costumes,[6] the impact of weapons on the cultures of the Rocky Mountains,[7] an exhibit on King Tut that toured internationally,[8]


Tinsley House

Tinsley House

The Tinsley House, which is preserved by the Museum of the Rockies as a living history museum, is intended to provide an overview of homestead life in the 1800s in the Gallatin Valley. The 100 year-old house was originally located in Willow Creek and it was moved to its present site on more than 10 acres (40,000 m2) behind the museum in 1989. The house is made of logs accumulated over the course of two years from the Tobacco Root Mountains and interior items are believed to have been ordered from the Sears catalog.[9] Most items in the house have been donated by Tinsley descendants.

The Tinsleys migrated west during the Civil War in search of a better life. William and Lucy Tinsley (née Nave) met in Virginia City, Montana, where both worked, and after marriage they relocated to the Gallatin Valley. They built their house in 1889 once the original cabin was too small to accommodate their family. At the museum, visitors can learn about the life of the Tinsleys and others who lived at the time. Children try on clothes and play with toys typical of the time. The house includes a functioning outhouse, water pump[9] and kitchen where food typical of the time is sometimes prepared.[10]


Duck-billed dinosaurs and Triceratops skulls
Visitors have a window into the process by which fossil pieces are assembled together.

While not its sole focus, the museum is primarily known for its paleontological collections. This was not always the case, however, and for a long time specimens found in Montana were taken out of state to other museums. This changed in 1990 with the discovery of a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton that would remain in Montana and be exhibited at the museum.[11] While fossils continue to be property of the federal government, the museum has been able to increase its collection due in part to Curator Jack Horner's agreement and work with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the federal Bureau of Land Management.[12] The museum is now home to twelve Tyrannosaurus rex specimens, including one of only two complete that have ever been found.[13]

Apart from housing one of the largest collection of dinosaur fossils in the world and the largest in the United States,[14] the museum is also home to the world's largest Tyrannosaurus skull narrowly beating out that of Chicago's Field Museum.[15] The museum's Siebel Dinosaur Complex, designed by curator and paleontologist Jack Horner is home to one of the first identified female dinosaurs, an ovulating T. rex.[1] Curator Horner, who served as adviser to the Jurassic Park films,[14][16] was one of the main scientists involved with the discovery of soft tissue remains in the thigh bone of a Tyrannosaurus in 2005,[17] which were later brought to the museum. The museum has also been involved in a number of other finds, including a baby Triceratops in Jordan, Montana in 2006.[18]

In June 2008, the museum formed part of a consortium that obtained a mobile paleontology lab that would assist researchers and allow them to chemically analyze fossils while still in the field in order to help prevent degradation.[19]


  1. ^ a b "Take the State's Dinosaur Trail". Great Falls Tribune. 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  2. ^ William F. Allman (1993-06-17). "The Real Jurassic Park Lies in Montana". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  3. ^ 2008-03-21. "Montana Tribes to Share Living Histories at Montana State University". Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  4. ^ "Museum of the Rockies to Become Smithsonian Affiliate". Helena Independent Record. 2005-08-06. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  5. ^ "Paul R. Jones Exhibit at Montana State". 2006-02-28. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  6. ^ "Costume Display at Bozeman Museum". Montana's News Station. 2008-06-11. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  7. ^ Ron Franscell (2001-06-03). "Tools of War Create Lessons of Survival". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  8. ^ Rob Chaney. "Tut Exhibit Injects New Life". The Missoulian. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  9. ^ a b Chaundera Wolfe. "The Tinsley House". Outside Bozeman. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  10. ^ "Living History". The Deseret News. 2002-09-22. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  11. ^ "Montana's Bone Bonanza; Tyrannosaurus Rex Skeleteon to Remain in the State". The Washington Post. 1990-08-28. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  12. ^ "Theories Evolve in T. Rex Discoveries". The New York Times. 2000-12-26. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  13. ^ Peggy Mihelich (2007-03-08). "Jack Horner Knows his Dinosaurs". CNN. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  14. ^ a b Claire Walter (2008-05-20). "'Dinosaur Highway' Rich in Dig Sites, Museums". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  15. ^ Andrew Herrmann (2006-04-12). "Head to Head, new T. Rex Beats Field's Museum's Sue". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  16. ^ Susan Gallagher (1993-11-21). "Maverick Dinosaur Expert Gets in His Digs in Montana Fossils". The Los Angeles Times.'+The+top+paleontologist+is+also+a+dyslexic+college+dropout.&pqatl=google. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  17. ^ Guy Gugliotta (2005-03-25). "A Major T. Rex Breakthrough". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  18. ^ "Baby Triceratops Found by Museum of the Rockies Researchers". 2006-07-21. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  19. ^ "New Mobile Paleontology Lab Begins Work". UPI. 2008-06-11. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  

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