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Yellowstone Art Museum focuses on contemporary Western works


BILLINGS, Mont. —  For the past half-century, the Yellowstone Art Museum has connected inspired artists with art lovers. Since the beginning, the museum in downtown Billings has been steeped in the spirit of the West.

Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, Mont.

Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, Mont.
Photo: Yellowstone Art Museum

“The Yellowstone Art Museum is a uniquely Montanan cultural destination,” said Dixie Yelvington, the museum’s marketing and public relations coordinator. “It’s a place to find inspiration and see the world in a new light. Changing exhibitions are fresh and exciting, and there’s something new each week, from children’s classes to adult workshops.”

When the museum opened in 1964, it was called the Yellowstone Art Center and it occupied the former Yellowstone County Jail. Over its first half-century, many milestones were reached — accreditation in 1982 and the Governor’s Award for Service to the Arts in 1995. A new name and a new home came in 1998, when the Yellowstone Art Museum opened.

The permanent collection now numbers more than 7,000 objects with the primary focus on progressive contemporary art from the Northern Rocky Mountains and the Northern Plains. The ongoing exhibit, “Boundless Visions,” draws on this collection with an emphasis on art from the mid-20th century until today.

Visible Vault, Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, Mont.

Visible Vault, Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, Mont.
Photo: Yellowstone Art Museum

Other items from the collection have a home in the Visible Vault. In 2010, the museum debuted this space where visitors can connect to items from the permanent collection in a creative way.

“We have the Visible Vault, a second facility that shows and explains to visitors how the permanent collection artwork is stored when it is not on display,” Yelvington said. “The Visible Vault is energy efficient and has an artist-in-residence studio.”

Both of the museum spaces are open to tours Tuesday through Sunday. Groups should make arrangements in advance of their visits, whether they request self-led or docent-guided tours.

“Friendly guides are available to lead tours,” Yelvington said. “Free parking is on-site for buses and there is an on-site cafe.”

The museum extends its exhibition series Mind, Memory, and Image with “Persistent Memories: Recent Works by Willem Volkersz,” Oct. 8 – Jan. 3, 2016.

For more information, call (406) 256-6804 or visit


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