Charlie Russell (1864-1926) came to Montana at the age of 16 in 1880 from his home in St. Louis. He worked eleven years as a cowboy before becoming a full time artist. With the help and support of his wife, Nancy Cooper Russell, he became one of the most successful artists of his time. He was a great friend and supporter of the American Indian people and is renowned for his accurate and sensitive portrayals of their way of life. Russell witnessed the end of the Old West era and mourned its passing. Russell’s works enable all of us to participate in his West.
Charlie Russell’s log studio, built in 1903, is on the Museum grounds and is open year round. It is said that Charlie never finished a painting anywhere else. The artifacts within belonged to Charlie and were used for reference in his artworks. The Russell Home, adjacent to the log studio, is open from May through September. Built in 1900 under Nancy’s supervision, the house today is furnished in the period and offers our guests a glimpse of life in the early 1900s.