Powell County Museum and Arts Foundation is a local non-profit
membership organization which operates the Old Montana Prison as
a Museum. As the Old Prison Complex contains buildings located on
three blocks outside the Old Prison walls, other collections have
been brought in to fill four museums.
PCMAF has a 99 year lease on the Old Prison from
the State of Montana, but operates without any state or federal
funding. The principal source of funding is through gate receipts
and fundraisers such as the classic car raffle.
Our Mission: To preserve, protect and present
elements of local and regional history and culture.
To be a repository for the history and life of
Deer Lodge, Powell County and the State of Montana including but
not exclusive to, historic buildings, photographic records, and/or
artifacts for preservation, representing the past, present, and
To present and educate the members and the public
to the significance of the items and artifacts in the repository
of the Powell County Museum and Arts Foundation, and to advance
this and other educational programs.
Prelude: The mining heritage is rich in
Gold West Country, but the area around Deer Lodge was settled by
ranchers. As the fur trade was dying out in the 1840s, an active
livestock trade was founded along the Oregon Trail near here and
led to the settlement of the Deer Lodge valley. The first territorial
prison was eventually built in Deer Lodge where Montana's worst
criminals were sent on a permanent vacation.
Today, Deer Lodge has a plentiful supply of unusual historic attractions
from the prison museums to the only U.S.
National Historic Site that is also a working cattle ranch.
Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site