Crazy Mountain Museum

Crazy Mountain Museum

Crazy Mountain Museum, P.O. Box 83, Big Timber, MT 59011.

The Sweet Grass Museum Society has its roots in the Pioneer Society founded in the early 1900's. A permanent home was built in the 1990's and named Crazy Mountain Museum. It is located south of Big Timber on Cemetery Road.

The museum has evolved from a display facility located in a building on McLeod Street. In addition to displays, it now boasts a research area, including a large master index with over 5,500 surnames for individuals mentioned in a wide variety of documents and pictures. In early 2002, volunteers completed indexing Big Timber newspapers dating back to the 1890's. Individuals willing to do lookups at the museum are listed at the bottom of the page.

Although regular hours are maintained only during the summer, staff is available year round to answer questions or arrange tours. The museum is now online. Contact them at:

New Exhibits

From The New Breeze: New Exhibits for 2009: In the Veterans Hall: Virgil Gust Military Exhibit; In the Large Exhibit Room: Cameras, Judy Cosgriff's Singer Sewing Machine and Notions, All New Gene Barbieri Native American Items; In the Pioneer Memorial Gallery: Baby shoes, Baby Furniture including Wagner Family buggy & high chair from the Elgen family; In the Back Room: Jewelry Boxes and a Wood Art Exhibit in August and September.

The Sweet Grass County Museum Society and Crazy Mountain Museum publish a newsletter "The New Breeze". It includes information about the museum, new acquisitions, historical photos and articles.

The Museum Society welcomes new members. There are three levels of membership: General, $10; Donor, $25; and Founder, $100. Memberships include a subscription to "The New Breeze". Make checks payable to the Sweet Grass Museum Society and mail to: P.O. Box 83, Big Timber, MT 59011.

Memorial Day Festival

The annual spring festival is held every Memorial Day, at the Crazy Mountain Museum. This event has become a tradition for the community.

An excellent lunch featuring Montana beef and Norwegian goodies highlight the festival. There will also be a silent auction and entertainment.

A growing exhibit at the museum is a flower garden of native plants including Purple Prairie Clover, Bitterroot, and Mockorange.

Other exhibits have been updated and continue to fascinate guests at the Museum. The Schoolhouse, Norwegian Stabbur, Cobblestone City, Cremer Rodeo, and many more. Plan to attend and bring your youngsters. The Crazy Mountain Museum is supported by donations, memberships, and fundraisers. Memorials and donations are always welcome.


Permanent exhibits at the museum include a detailed model of Big Timber in 1907 called "The Cobblestone City", a Norwegian stabbur, and a one room school house, formerly Sourdough School. A pioneer room has many pictures and histories of early settlers.
A collection of names of veterans from the Spanish American War through the Gulf War has been assembled by Bill Esp. This list of 1750 names from Sweet Grass County is on display with related items.



A microfilm reader has been purchased by the Crazy Mountain Museum. The reader is a gift from the Donald family through memorials to Ann Donald. The reader enables those seeking family and other historical information to access far more data than previously possible. The museum has many rolls of old Big Timber newspapers on microfilm.

Research Fees

The first half hour of research at the Crazy Mountain Museum is free. After that the staff charges $30 an hour for research. Copies are 25 cents.

Recent Acquisitions and Donors

The Museum lists acquisitions and donations in its newsletter. Click here for 1999-2009 acquisitions and donations.

Other resources

7         "Montana Sweet Grass County From Melville to the Boulder River Valley" by Phyllis Smith. This book can be purchased from the museum for $19.95 plus $4 handling for mail orders. For more information write the Crazy Mountain Museum; Box 83; Big Timber, MT 59011.

7         Bound volumes of the Big Timber Pioneer from 1893 to the present.

7         Indexed newspaper obituaries.

7         Voter registration books from 1889-1940.

7         Big Timber police magistrate records from 1902-1971.

7         Various old city records.

7         Some oral history tapes and transcripts.

7         "Pioneer Memories", Vols. 1&2

7         "Tri-county Atlas"

7         "Jerkline to Jeep"

7         "Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow"

7         SGHS annuals back to 1913

7         "History of Sweet Grass County Schools"

7         "Hunter's Hot Springs Chronology, 1888-1905"

7         "Progressive Men of Montana", published in 1902

7         Various family biographies

Indexes to museum resources

o    Biography Indexes: Pioneer Memories, Vols. 1&2 and Tri-county Atlas

o    Scrapbook obituary index, Vol. 1

o    Scrapbook obituary index, Vol. 2

o    Scrapbook obituary index, Vol. 3

o    History and biography scrapbook index

o    "Progressive Men of Montana" index. Extensive volume of biographies published in about 1902.

Museum Hours and Access

Crazy Mountain Museum is open by appointment during the winter. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day it is open six days a week from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., including Saturday and Sunday. Closed on Mondays.

Sweet Grass County residents Rita Esp, Jan Counter and Donna Harkness are available to do research at the museum. All have knowledge of the area and its residents. Copies are 25 cents per page. Mail services require a SASE. A donation to the museum for services rendered would be welcome.

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Copyright ) 2007, 2008, 2009 2012. This page is maintained by MTGenWeb volunteer Bunny Freeman. Photos by Mary Hathaway.