Collections & Archives

Artifact Collection

The main body of artifacts at Ravalli County Museum has been donated over 60+ years. Many pioneer families have contributed to the collection. Early historical society member Henry Grant, affectionately known locally as “Mr. Bitterroot,” collected and donated numerous early Bitterroot objects. Artifacts from local Native American tribes – the Salish, Kootenai and Nez Perce – comprise a permanent exhibit.

The Museum’s collection also includes the work of regional photographer Ernst Peterson; objects from an early fraternal organization; a wood hand tool collection; agricultural implements; military uniforms and accessories; portraits and paintings; numerous Victorian era household fixtures; dry goods; and vintage clothing.

For questions about Archival Research, please send an email to

 For possible donations email a short description to the Collections Committee. Please indicate how it relates to the valley’s history, along with photos of the item(s). Send to Or mail to Ravalli County Museum, Attn: Collections Manager, 205 Bedford St., Hamilton, MT  59840. For questions, please email Collections, or leave us a message at (406) 363-3338, Ext. 18.  

Please note: This process is separate from donating items to the museum’s Antiques and Collectibles Auction.


Ravalli County Museum houses a variety of archival material suited to the needs of researchers. Resources include a vast newspaper collection dating to the late 1800s, a Vertical File of local interest topics and obituaries, and a card catalog, accessible via a searchable database. Other archive materials include original documents, certificates, contracts, correspondence, deeds, magazines, maps, historic photos and photo albums, pamphlets, scrapbooks, genealogical sources, a Hamilton Architectural Survey, and a non-lending library of books and publications of regional interest.

Book an appointment with our archivists:

View fees associated with research assistance.

Become a member for reduced research assistance fees.