We share Montana's story through our resources: art, books, artifacts, photos, and even buildings we've helped preserve.
The gentle rise overlooking the Helena Valley enhances the stately character of the “People’s House.” It is Montana’s grandest public space and a stunning example of high style public architecture. Iowa architects Charles Bell and John Kent designed the center portion in the Neoclassical style to reflect the “American Renaissance” of the late nineteenth century. The state had few financial resources, so mining magnate Thomas Cruse bought all the bonds that financed its construction.
Completed in 1902, the Capitol embodies the optimism, financial reality, and political climate of the time. The soaring Rotunda, beneath the copper-clad dome and figure “Montana,” sculpted by Pennsylvania artist Edward VanLandeghem, serves as the real and symbolic axis of government. Montana architects John Link and Charles Haire designed the wings, added in 1909.
Classical elements carry through the interior, but the artistic expression speaks distinctly to Montana. A kaleidoscope of details and stained and art glass set the stage for a theatrical “history pageant.” Exquisite paintings by Montana artists Charles Russell, Ralph DeCamp, and Edgar S. Paxson visually dramatize Montana’s colorful past.
Cover photo credit: Jesse Michael Nix via flickr