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Calling all history buffs: Yellowstone County Museum needs volunteers to help identify artifacts

Yellowstone Co. Museum Seeks Volunteers
Posted at 6:06 PM, Jul 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 10:58:40-04

BILLINGS — From Calamity Jane's poker chips to the largest collection of Ghost Dance regalia, the Yellowstone County Museum plays host to thousands of artifacts displayed in thoughtful exhibits.

"The mission is to preserve and protect anything in the Yellowstone River drainage," said Museum Director Terry Steiner.

The Yellowstone County Museum sits near the Billings-Logan International Airport and welcomes guests into the entrance building, which is a cabin dating back 1893. Downstairs is a sprawling 5,000-square-foot space separated into the main displays.

Right now, guests will see exhibits showcasing historic and contemporary Native American culture, guns as they were used by cowboys, trappers and in battle, and more.

Museum Curator Christian Coppedge gives a tour through two exhibits that have become fan favorites: A Western saloon with a historic bar mirror and Calamity Jane's playing cards and poker chips, and, an exhibit showing the social movement against side-saddles and how women fought for equal rights in horseback riding.

But the items on display are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the museum's collection.

At an undisclosed location in Yellowstone County is a temperature-controlled, secure, 60-foot-by-60-foot facility that houses 25,000-30,000 artifacts belonging to the museum.

“We need volunteers in the near future to go through our collections and identify and properly identify, take photos. It’s really, really important for our collections," Steiner said.

The museum is putting out a call for volunteers to help sort, identify, log, photograph, and archive artifacts in the collection.

Steiner says if you would like to volunteer call the museum at (406)256-811 or send an email at

You can also always stop by the museum, check out the collection, and sign up to help.