This is the "Cowboy" update on our Cowboys, Cars and Cons Museum visits. We have really enjoyed our visit to Deer Lodge. There is so much to do right in town to keep you busy for days. We highly recommend this awesome little town.
Our main visit today was to the Frontier Montana Museum and Desert John's Saloon. They have the largest collection of handguns, spurs, chaps and all the cowboy collectibles between Cody, Wyoming and Calgary, Canada.
Housed in the Old Montana Prison Mule Barn with wood block floors and real tin ceilings. The museum displays the items actually used by the American cowboy, rancher, frontiersman and women during the opening and growth of the American West. The items on display are the real items used during the period of 1829 to 1900, not the props seen in the western movies. There are over 300 handguns and rifles on display plus the museum displays hats, a large spur collection, many varieties of chaps used on the frontier, horse bits, saddles, – those items a cowboy took pride in owning, and in many cases, the only items he owned.
I got as many pictures as I could, it's hard to take good photos inside when they are in cases etc. Please excuse all glares etc.
The Desert John’s Saloon Museum can be found inside the Frontier Montana Museum. Two large rooms at the back tell another kind of story about the Old West. It is here that Desert John’s Saloon has a home. For those who love the lore of the Old West saloon, this place is a time machine. Everything is pre-Prohibition.
Upon entering you are greeted by an automated saloon keeper. He stands behind the gleaming wooden bar and tells a tale of how it was shipped up the Missouri River from St. Louis.
Early whiskey bottles from around the country fill countless shelves. Beside them stand flasks of every size, shape, and color. Etched shot glasses compliment the bottles and feature brand names which echo those on the bottles: Old McBrayer, Old Prentice, Old Blue Ribbon, Samaritan Rye, and Golden Link. Back bar bottles and decanters, their fancy lettering done in gold, or silver, or in white enamel, are found upon still more shelves. Stoneware jugs, large and small, all emblazoned with the names of liquor dealers long since gone, fill a large section of one room.
After this awesome museum, we walked next door to explore the Powell County Museum. This one has mining, wood carving and local history. You can gaze upon a beautiful salt and pepper display, breath-taking antique furniture and a mining display that will take you back in time to the days of hard labor and sweat. We especially enjoyed the huge salt and pepper collection and the hand carved wooden wagons. Another great day in Deer Lodge.
I will be doing one more update on the local museums, it will feature awesome dolls and toys. Enjoy!