Located in downtown Billings, the Yellowstone Art Museum is the largest contemporary art museum in Montana. The Museum collects, interprets, exhibits, and preserves art with a focus on Montana and its surrounding regions, and aims to be a world-class cultural destination for all ages.


© Yellowstone Art Museum (YAM)

Established in 1994 as the Yellowstone Art Center, the Yellowstone Art Museum (YAM) was first based in the former Yellowstone County Jail, which was built in 1884. The museum was a result of a grassroots artist and community effort to introduce art into the community, and the building was renovated entirely through volunteer effort on behalf of this goal. The Yellowstone Art Museum, otherwise known as YAM, was the first museum in the area to focus on progressive and modern art rather than the then traditional genre of Western art and historical artifacts. Additions were added to the museum in 1916, and today the museum remains the only visual arts institution in the region.

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2.Collections and Exhibitions

Collections and Exhibitions
© Yellowstone Art Museum (YAM)

The Yellowstone Art Museum features a growing permanent collection of over 7,400 of historical and contemporary regional artworks. The collection includes works by renowned artists such as Ted Waddell, Rudy Autio, Deborah Butterfield, John Buck, Patrick Zentz, Richard Notkin, Isabelle Johnson and Jaune Smith, as well as emerging artists. The Virginia Snook Collection includes the largest selection of works by illustrator and cowboy writer, Will James, as well as hundreds of Abstract Expressionism pieces in the museum’s Poindexter Collection of New York.

The Visible Vault was established in 2010 and is publicly accessible art storage facility that houses the Museum’s permanent collection in an innovative, open-plan design. The Visible Vault facility is also home to an artist-in-residence studio which has housed artists such as John Pollock, Brian Keith Scott, Tracy Linder, Brooke Atherton and Carol Spielman, whose works have also been on display in the museum.

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© Yellowstone Art Museum (YAM)

The Yellowstone Art Museum offers a variety of art educational programs and opportunities, ranging from class and workshop programs, curriculum-based art education, lectures, gallery talks, and other special events. Classes and activities for children to develop their talent and skills are offered throughout the year, as well as Family Fun Friday Nights where families can create art together. The Young Artists’ Gallery is dedicated to showing and celebrating the work of the community’s budding artists in a variety of temporary exhibitions, while the Children’s Collection showcases the pieces that children voted for as being their best. Education programs for adults include monthly art classes led by regional artists, bead embroidery workshops, and drawing classes.

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4.Special Events

Special Events
© Yellowstone Art Museum (YAM)

The Yellowstone Art Museum offers a variety of fun ways to get involved in the institution and its art throughout the year. Special events include the Art Auction, McDonald Family Free Day, Summerfair, National Coloring Book Day, Bridal Fair, Winterfair, Masquerade Party, and ArtWalk & Jam at the YAM.

The National Coloring Book Day is honored with a coloring marathon at the Museum where visitors can bring their coloring books and tools from home. The YAM also offers an artists’ coloring book with pages designed by different regional artists.

The ArtWalk & Jam at the YAM offers free admission to the museum for visitors who can explore the museum and its current exhibitions while listening to live music.

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5.Visitor Information

Visitor Information
© Yellowstone Art Museum (YAM)

The Yellowstone Art Museum is located at 401 North 27th Street in Billings and is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sundays from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. The Yellowstone Art Museum offers three basic tours for visitors, including an hour-long docent-led tour of the galleries, an hour-and-a-half tour of the galleries and a specially designed gallery inspired art activity, and self-guided tours of the museum. The Museum is home to the Raven’s Café d’Art, which serves an array of delicious seasonal cuisine and beverages.

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401 North 27th Street, Billings, MT 59101, website, Phone: 406-256-6804

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Best Things to Do in Billings, MT: Yellowstone Art Museum (YAM)