Dr. Caroline McGill, a doctor from Butte, Montana, founded the Museum of the Rockies in 1957. McGill, worked in conjunction with MSU’s President, Roland Renne, to establish the Museum, and she served as its first curator. Her gifts included an extraordinary collection of Montana historical objects that were first housed in three Quonset huts on the MSU campus. The Museum was originally named the McGill Museum.
A volunteer corps of around 30 townspeople helped organized the collection in these Quonset huts for the first few years. The Museum was officially incorporated in 1965 as the Museum of the Rockies. By 1970, MOR hired its first full-time director, Less Drew. He brought professionalism to the MOR and oversaw the design and construction of the first two Museum buildings.
Mick Hager became the director in 1982 and had the vision to expand the MOR. He hired Jack Horner as the curator of paleontology. In his nearly 30 year career here, Dr. Horner has established the MOR as a world-class paleontology research facility and expanded the focus of the Museum to include one of the most important dinosaur fossil collections in the world.
The Museum of the Rockies is both a college-level division of Montana State University and an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit institution. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, MOR is one of just 775 museums to hold this distinction from the more than 17,500 museums nationwide. The Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate and a federal repository for fossils.
The Museum of the Rockies inspires visitors to explore the rich natural and cultural history of America’s Northern Rocky Mountains. In partnership with Montana State University, the Museum reaches diverse communities with engaging exhibits, educational programs, and original research that advance public understanding of the collections.