Plan Your Visit

Collection Policies

This information is provided for potential donors, borrowers, or researchers of historic or natural specimens and artifacts. If you have an object that you are interested in donating for the permanent collection, the educational teaching collection, or the living history farm (Tinsley House) collection, please visit our donation page.

  • For questions about cultural history collections, please contact the Cultural History Registrar & Collections Manager: Lisa Verwys, Museum of the Rockies, phone 406-994-6622, email
  • For questions about natural history collections, please contact the Paleontology Registrar-Collections Manager: Amy Atwater, phone 406-994-6578, email

Our Collections

Thank you for your interest in the Museum of the Rockies collections of material culture and natural history. Our collections total nearly 700,000 artifacts and specimens. These collections are used in a number of ways.

Natural history specimens, including geological, astronomical, and paleontological materials, are primarily used in scientific research. Through our loan and visiting researcher programs, these specimens are shared around the world, and we have access to specimens from other museums. This research is highlighted in our galleries and in exhibits developed for other museums.

Our photography & film archives, with over 90,000 images, document the history of our region from the advent of photography to the present. These images are actively used in our exhibits, loaned to other museums, and are available for personal or professional research or for purchase by commercial users.

Historic and archaeological artifacts cover a broad range of disciplines. These artifacts represent the great variety of human activity in our region over the past 11,000 years and into the 21st century. This material is intended for long-term preservation and is used primarily for exhibit, educational purposes, and research. Our small fine art collection is supportive of the historical and archaeological collections.

Teaching and Living History collections are actively used by interpreters and visitors. Teaching collections support educational activities associated with our exhibits and other programs. Living History collections are those things used by interpreters at the Tinsley Historic House and farm. The Living History program interprets life in rural Montana between 1890 and 1910.

Research or Study Appointments

If you are interested in visiting Museum of the Rockies to conduct research on any of our collections, please contact the appropriate registrar (see the top of page). Research requests must be submitted with a minimum of four weeks’ notice. Please see the paleontology page for further information on paleontology or histology requests.


The museum and museum staff are prohibited from offering valuations, appraisals or authentications for artifacts or specimens. Appraisals and authentication should be carried out by a certified appraiser or reputable auction house. Museum of the Rockies neither endorses nor recommends any particular appraiser.  The information below is for your information only.

Appraisers are trained specialists who work for a fee. They evaluate your artifact and provide you with a written statement of its value. The following organizations publish a directory of their members. Always seek an appraiser with an expertise in the type of object you own. Appraisers listed in these directories can be found by state and city. You may also find appraisers listed in local business directories.

American Society of Appraisers
Appraisers Association
International Society of Appraisers