Located across the street from the Old Montana Prison Museum, the Frontier Montana Museum is housed in the Old Montana Prison Mule Barn. The museum focuses on artifacts relating to the nineteenth century in Montana. According to the museum’s website:
“What can one say about a museum that displays the items actually used by the American cowboy, rancher, frontiersman and women during the opening and growth of the American West. The items on display are the real items used during the period of 1829 to 1900, not the props seen in the western movies.”
Shown below are photographs of some of the displays in this museum.
This is Montana where the legends of the gun are still strong, most people own guns (yes, plural), and museum displays of guns are popular. There are more than 300 guns on display. According to the museum’s website:
“Some people look at guns as a weapon of destruction. In actuality, the gun is an engineering marvel and in some cases a work of art.”
One case in the museum displays a number of Indian artifacts. This is little attempt to correlate this with regional history. According to the museum’s website:
“What would the growth of the American West be without representation of the Native American, the Plains Indians, The Sioux - a French word for fierce warrior, the Cheyenne, and other tribes. There is a representative collection of bead work, animal skin clothing, weapons and more of the Native Americans.”
The word “Sioux,” by the way, is a French corruption of the Anishinaabe word which means “little snake” or “lesser enemy,” it does not mean fierce warrior. The Deer Lodge Valley was not Sioux territory—it was used by the Salish and Shoshone.