Museum of the Rockies looks to future with new building - KBZK.com | Continuous News | Bozeman, Montana

Museum of the Rockies looks to future with new building

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A multi-million dollar expansion is underway at the Museum of the Rockies, but it is a building that the general public will never step foot inside.

The $4 million Curatorial Center for the Humanities (CCR) will house the vast collection of Montana artifacts that are currently stored in the basement of the museum.

Right now, the basement is a maze of rooms that are busting at the seams with shelves of items that range from antique woodworking tools to photos.  

Art and History Curator Steve Jackson is excited about the new nearly 18,000 square foot facility.  

“It is a necessity because we've outgrown our storage space” Jackson explained.  “We have had to be very select in terms of how and what we collect.  Because if we don't have space adequately take care of it and ethically we feel bound to be selective in term of how we collect things.”

The building will only hold historical materials related to the humanities, which is anything related to human history in the region that may deal with history, photography, art, and archeology.  

The building is expected to be finished in June.  

After that, the museum staff will begin the painstaking process of moving into the new space.  The move from the basement of the Museum of the Rockies into the new building will likely take over a year.

Curators are currently taking an inventory of the items that are currently housed in the basement of The Museum of the Rockies.  

Once that is finished they will be able to organize the artifacts and store them in the CCR.  That move will give the paleontology department a little over 11,000 square feet of space to store their collection of dinosaur relics.

This move will also give the museum an opportunity to expand the paleontology research at the museum.  “Where we have had a core of 5 people over the years” MOR Director of Paleontology Pat Leiggi explained,”we will expand that to 8.  We will be able to accommodate a lot more research.”

If you have visited the museum over the course of the last 25 years, you are familiar with the current history hall.  Very few changes have happened there over the last quarter century.  That is about to change.  

A large freight elevator is going to be installed in the CCR which will allow the staff to relocate several of the vehicles that have made the history hall a parking lot over the years.

“I'll be tasked with installing a new exhibition in our history hall” history curator Michael Fox explained.   “I'm really looking forward to that and very much looking forward to bringing out artifacts never shown before.”

The institution has been dedicated to history for the last 60 years.  Now the museum is turning the focus to the future.  “This is the first step in where it is going to be going in the next 50 years fundraising," Leiggi said.  

Money for the museum expansion required no state funds.  It was all fundraising.  

While most of the public will never see the inside of the new Curatorial Center for the Humanities building, they will no doubt see changes in future visits to The Museum of the Rockies.  

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