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Great Falls, Montana
Rediscovering the Bison, an American Icon
A diorama from the C.M. Russell Museum's exhibit, “The Bison: American Icon, Heart of Plains Indian Culture.” Image courtesy of the C.M. Russell Museum.

Montana’s C.M. Russell Museum preserves the history and tells the story of the American West through Russell’s paintings, sculptures, and drawings and through changing exhibitions focused on Western cultures and peoples. “The Bison: American Icon, Heart of Plains Indian Culture,” which was produced with an NEH grant, is among the Museum’s most popular permanent installations. With more than 1,000 items of clothing, tools, and weapons representing Northern Plains Indian Culture, the exhibition highlights the bison’s role in American history. The Museum created a web site and public and school programs to accompany “The Bison’s” installation. The exhibit, which treats the bison as a cultural icon, was reimagined as a travelling exhibition for the NEH On the Road program in 2009. It travelled the nation for five years and reached nineteen locales during its run.

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