Wednesday, August 18, 2010

C.M. Russell Museum

Today we spent half of our day touring the Charles M. Russell Museum in Great Falls. Russell was an American artist who painted, sculpted, carved, and drew scenes depicting Indian and old western culture, as well as Montana countryside. He was one busy man because the museum is huge and houses mostly his works. It was quite an impressive collection.

From the museum website: Welcome to the C.M. Russell Museum: a place where the old West is still alive. Artist Charles M. Russell captured the landscapes, the spirit, and the culture of the West during the late 1800s and early 1900s. His artwork is part entertainment, part history lesson.

I think my favorite part of the collection were his letters. He often wrote letters to friends and each one contained "doodles" in the middle of the pages or on the envelopes. Now when I say "doodles", I don't mean smiley faces or hearts like I might draw. I mean teeny tiny works of art that were incredibly detailed and super cute. I am glad people saved the letters for us to see because some of those drawings were just as impressive as his large canvases. My favorite was this envelope with a pen drawing of a man and woman dressed to travel and walking away with a note underneath that said "We're coming."

There were sculptures as well as paintings. There were wood carvings. Downstairs there was an impressive gallery of Indian paintings by Gary Schildt focusing on contemporary Northern Plains subjects. His colors were vibrant and lively, and the whole gallery just glowed.

The bison exhibit downstairs was also super cool and even had a walk-through with a floor that vibrated to replicate what it would feel like to stand on the prairie with a herd of stampeding bison.

I couldn't help but think as I walked through the galleries, my Dad would sure love to see this. Maybe someday!

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