The Coolest Museums in Butte, Montana


The streets of Butte hold a whole lot of history and culture, with a town that has been brought together around mining, science, art and survival for over a century. The museums that you’ll find in town reflect that past. To find the seedy underbelly, the very rocks Butte was founded on, and the story of the people who were often forgotten, check out these museums in Butte.

Mineral Museum

You don’t even have to like rocks to think the Mineral Museum is the coolest spot in Butte. But if you are a geology hound, you’ll love every second spent here. Rocks and minerals from around the world fill cases on two floors. As the museum of Montana Tech’s campus, this has been a hub of learning since the school purchased its first 177 mineral specimens for study in 1901. Now the collection has grown to about 12,000, so be sure to set aside enough time to work your way through.

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World Museum of Mining

Butte is a mining town, and although the Continental Pit (east of the Berkeley Pit) is the only active mine left, this side of the city’s history is still alive and well. The World Museum of Mining is located in an actual mine yard, the Orphan Girl Mine. And you can take underground mine tours to find yourself fully immersed. See the headframe and hoist house up close (these are those towering metal structures you’ll still see on the hillside). Exhibits recreate a mining town from this bygone era, with a rock and mineral room and even an extensive doll and dollhouse collection.

Dumas Brothel

Open from 1890 to 1982, Dumas Brothel has the distinction of being the longest, continually running brothel in the country’s history. Up until World War II, mining tunnels led directly to the building’s basement. Now the building is open weekly for tours and is well known for paranormal activity. You can even sign up for an overnight exploration into the supernatural. Though the brothel might not look like a traditional museum, you can still see displays from the building’s past, with rooms set in historic furnishings.

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Mai Wah Museum

The Mai Wah Society preserves and interprets Butte’s Asian heritage; they’ve been at it since 1991. At the museum, see exhibits about Butte’s Chinatown and a recent archeological dig, artifacts from the Wai Chong Tai Mercantile, and the names and faces of Butte’s Chinese residents from the turn of the last century. You can also peruse their collection of fine art by local artists, depicting and promoting the Asian heritage of Butte.

Charles Clark Chateau

This impressive castle was built in 1898, based on a French chateau that its first owners had seen on their honeymoon. With 13,000 square feet, including 26 rooms, the Charles Clark Chateau is an architectural edifice that has been transformed into a community center to enliven the Butte arts scene. You can take a guided building tour year-round or wander through the rotating art exhibits.

Find your home base for your trip through history in Butte, America. The Butte KOA Journey offers tent and RV sites, as well as cabins, to help you relax in comfort while you explore.Book now to start your trip planning.