Museum of the Rockies is remarkable in several key aspects ensuring a quality visitor experience.

  1. Paleontological Collections: The museum's extensive collection of dinosaur fossils, including one of the largest and most important in the United States, is a major draw for visitors. The museum houses rare and significant specimens that provide valuable insights into the prehistoric world and contribute to scientific research.
  2. Research and Education: Museum of the Rockies is not only a museum but also an active research institution. Its commitment to scientific research and collaboration with academic institutions enhances its credibility and attracts scholars and researchers. The museum's educational programs cater to diverse audiences and offer engaging experiences that promote learning and discovery.
  3. Taylor Planetarium: The presence of a state-of-the-art planetarium within the museum adds to its appeal. The Taylor Planetarium offers immersive shows that explore the wonders of the universe, enhancing visitors' understanding and appreciation of astronomy and space exploration.
  4. Regional Focus: Being located in the Northern Rocky Mountain region, the museum's exhibits and programs often highlight the unique natural and cultural history of the area. This regional focus allows visitors to connect with the local environment, wildlife, and indigenous cultures, fostering a sense of place and deepening their understanding of the region's heritage.
  5. Quality Exhibits and Engaging Experiences: Museum of the Rockies is known for its high-quality special and primary exhibits, some featuring life-sized dinosaur mounts (comprised of real fossils or replicas), interactive displays, and engaging storytelling techniques. These exhibits captivate visitors of all ages, providing an immersive and educational experience.
  6. Community Engagement: The museum actively engages with the local community, offering programs and events that cater to the interests and needs of residents. Its outreach efforts ensure that the museum is not only a tourist destination but also a valuable resource for the community and region it serves.

The combination of its paleontological collections, commitment to research and education, Taylor Planetarium, regional focus, quality exhibits, and community engagement contribute to the "it factor" that makes Museum of the Rockies a standout institution in the field of natural history museums.

Read the museum's Statement on Diversity. Read the museum's Land Acknowledgment Statement.

Meet our amazing team and learn about our board of Trustees in the Staff and Departments section of this website.

Engage. Inspire. Discover.

We envision a world where all are inspired to engage in life-long learning and the process of discovery.

Museum of the Rockies invites all people to discover natural science and cultural history. The museum’s exhibits, collections, programs, and research create a community resource that brings the world to Montana and shares the Northern Rockies with the world.

We are committed to the highest standards of professional ethics, scholarship, research, curation, education, outreach, and engagement.

We are inquisitive and inspire our audience to engage in the process of discovery and learning.

We value and encourage creativity, innovation, and resourcefulness.

Leadership. As a world-class research facility and regional history museum, we anticipate and lead change while striving to meet the needs of our diverse communities.

We recognize and honor the intrinsic reward and inspirational value of excellence in all we do.

We remain open to opportunities and know that responsible risk can yield remarkable results.

We develop and encourage mutually beneficial collaboration that helps further the museum's mission.

We practice ethical and fiscal accountability and strive for transparency and careful stewardship of resources, including collections, staff, facilities, and donations.

We ensure the museum's future with robust financial management of income and expenses; and strong, effective philanthropy and endowment development.

Our members, the Bozeman community, and visitors show their appreciation for Museum of the Rockies.

Bozone’s Best of Bozeman Awards

  • Best Place for Kids' Activities: 2009 – 2021
  • Best Place for Family Fun: 2013 – 2023

Bozeman Magazine’s Readers' Choice Awards

  • Best Museum/Historic Site: 2016 – 2024
  • Best Place to Take Your Kids: 2016 – 2021, 2023 – 2024
    • 2022 Runner-up
  • Best Place to Impress Out-of-Town Guests: 2019
    • 2020, 2022 – 2024 Runner-up
  • Most Memorable Event in the Past Year: 2016 Wine and Culinary Classic

Bozeman Daily Chronicle's Gallatin's Greatest Awards

  • People and Places: Museum, 2021 – 2023
  • Best Local Tourism Attraction: 2022
  • Best Family Amusement: 2022

Distinctly Montana Magazine

  • Best Children's Museum: 2023
  • Best History Museum: 2023 Runner-up
  • Best Museum: 2023 Runner-up

2021 TripSavvy Editors’ Choice Award for Culture Vultures

Lonely Planet Best Things to in Bozeman


  • Top Things To Do In Bozeman
  • Travelers’ Choice (previously Certificate of Excellence): 2012 – 2023

Dr. Caroline McGill, a doctor from Butte, Montana, founded Museum of the Rockies in 1957. McGill worked in partnership with MSU’s President, Dr. Roland R. Renne, and with Dr. Merrill Burlingame, head of the history department, to establish the museum. She also served as the museum's 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 organize 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, Les Drew. He brought professionalism to 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 MOR. He hired Jack Horner as the curator of paleontology. In his nearly 34-year career at MOR, Mr. Horner established 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.

Sheldon McKamey began her work at MOR as our marketing professional in 1987. She became the executive director in 2003 and served until her retirement in September of 2018. During her tenure as the executive, Shelley led the renovation of our Taylor Planetarium and our Bair Lobby, kicked off our biggest benefit events, led the installation of our Hall of Horns and Teeth, led the renovation of the Martin Children's Discovery Center, and made the purchase of our Egg Mountain site possible. She worked with our staff to bring many changing exhibits to our community, including The Villas of Oplontis, King Tut, Frogs, Crocodiles, Guitars, and more. During her tenure, visitation doubled. The Curatorial Center for the Humanities was Shelley's way of rounding out a magnificent career. She worked diligently to secure funding for this building, which was built on budget, on schedule, and earned the LEED Gold certification for sustainable building practices.

In September of 2018, Christopher Dobbs joined MOR as its executive director. He has joined us as a visionary leader, with more than 27 years of experience in museums with roles in exhibits, strategic planning, and management. Chris holds a Master's Degree in museum studies. Prior to joining MOR, Chris has worked at Mystic Seaport Museum of America and the Sea, Noah Webster House, and Connecticut River Museum.

Special Thanks to our Generous Access Initiative Sponsors

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit institution, Museum of the Rockies develops and maintains partnerships that help ensure that all Montanans can benefit from our educational services, particularly those who would not otherwise be able to afford it or who face significant barriers. MOR serves its community by making the museum’s educational mission accessible to all. MOR partners with Montana public schools and over 30 non-profit organizations to carry out our Access Initiatives free of charge, providing educational enrichment for vulnerable and underserved populations.