Named after Chief Joseph Ninepipes, a Bitterroot Salish Chief, the museum is nestled under the protection of the Mission Mountain Range. It contains a wealth of early photos, artifacts and antiques representing more than a century of life on the Flathead Indian Reservation and in Montana. The Museum is one of western Montana’s finest treasures.
The Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana was established in 1997 to discover, memorialize, preserve and protect the history and culture of the Flathead Reservation and early Montana. It is designed for the enrichment, education, and recreation of local residents and visitors. June 3, 2017 marks the 20th Anniversary for the museum.
The museum is located halfway between Missoula and Kalispell on Highway 93, near the National Bison Range and the Owl Research Institute. It is bordered by the Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge, a nationally recognized bird watching area with Fish and Wildlife land on all sides. Housed in a log and concrete structure built to museum specifications and standards, the museum includes both long term and temporary exhibits that provide the viewer with articles representing the life of early people in the area.
Your trip through time begins with the Gallery of the Art of the Old West. You will see how noted artists, including Alfred Jacob Miller, Charlie Russell and E.S. Paxson, as well as later artists portrayed Native American and frontier life.
Indian artifacts are displayed in cases. The Hall of Photographs contains pictures of men and women who helped compose this history: Native Americans, trappers, miners, loggers, cowboys, ranchers, and settlers.
As you continue through the museum you will find a collection of weaponry including clubs, bows & arrows, and guns. There are spurs and saddlery, life-size mannequins in cowboy, cowgirl and Indian dress. You will see a grizzly trap, depicting the lost art of preparing a “grizzly set”. Throughout the museum is a vast collection of Native American beadwork.
The center of the building contains a life-size diorama of wild animals and an Indian camp scene that includes a creek, elk hide teepees, a woman scraping a buffalo hide, children playing, and a rack of drying meat. An old cabin, originally built by the Jocko River has been moved to the museum grounds.
Wagons and buggies dot the front of the museum grounds, along with a replica of a cottonwood canoe. An old cabin, originally built by the Jocko River, has been moved to the museum grounds. At the south side of the cabin is the entry to our Nature Trail, a handicapped accessible area giving everyone an opportunity to view the beauty of the valley and Mission Mountains. Signs along the walkway help you identify the birds and small animals in the area.
The museum hosts many tours for individuals, schools and organizations. We have something for Everyone! It’s our hope that you enjoy our website and we look forward to seeing you soon.
Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana respects the privacy of our visitors and does not collect any personal information. We do not attempt to track individuals in any manner and do not link the web information to link to any other databases with the purpose of identifying individual website users. We do not track IP addresses or deposit any “cookies” in an attempt to gain information about website users.