A Museum Within A Museum

A trip to the Ursuline Centre in Great Falls, MT is an architectural treat, a feast for antique-lovers and when you see their “museum” you’ll want to spend much more time there.

Many of the Ursuline Sisters taught at St. Peters Mission near Cascade, MT and were given Native American gifts.

The red elk tooth dress hangs proudly in one corner of the room housing the museum. Just think about how many elk it would have taken to make this dress. If I was adding the elk tooth adornment, I probably would have only done one row!

The chair in front of the dress is made using antlers.


Another exhibit in a glass display case caught my eye.

It is a collection of small dolls, all very colorful, and all have elaborate decoration on them. The dolls are on cradleboards and they have different beadwork designs and different colors used for decoration. You can only imagine the fun some small children had playing with these beautiful dolls.

The museum room at the Ursuline Centre is one large open room. I stood in one place for quite awhile and just looked around it, and absorbed all of the priceless collections.

Our tour guide told stories about many of the displays. One had an elaborate and intricately carved wooden desk displayed that had come by steamboat up the Missouri River, then over land, probably in a wagon. Not a spindle was broken, there were no cracks, no nicks in the wood. Very amazing!

The Ursuline Sisters were teachers and there is one large auditorium in the building that has 14 small rooms off to both sides of the auditorium. These were music practice rooms and teaching rooms.

Today, music is still a large part of the activities at the site with several local teachers using it for student concerts.

This display of music instruments was in one of the parlors we toured.

I took so many photos in an effort to remember all of the amazing and unique things I saw. The Ursuline is open for tours and I plan to go back!

Leave a Comment