Charlie Russell Through the Eyes of a Child

This past Sunday was the Great Falls Museum Consortium’s “Sunday Sampler” with free admission to ten different museums and interpretive centers. A Treasure Hunt map was available for those who would attempt to visit all attractions that afternoon.

It was a beautiful day, coming on the heels of some midweek snow, and we were ready to be out and about. As we entered the Russell Museum in Great Falls’ lower northside neighborhood it seemed quiet. Sunday Sampler began at noon and it was just a few minutes past so yeah, we were eager!

After a quick meander through the galleries we headed downstairs to the Children’s Discovery Room. Docents were on hand throughout the museum and the lady in the children’s room welcomed us and encouraged us to play. Everything in this room is touchable, in contract to the upstairs galleries.

There was a large horse for display, not for riding (bummer), but thank goodness there were some smaller wooden ponies with small saddles on them. Wow, these were a hit!

There were two different sizes for small and medium toddlers. The saddles were the real things atop wooden stands decorated to look like horses.

I’d say this cowgirl looks like a natural but I’d recommend swapping the clogs for some cowboy (girl) boots. Part of the fun was getting a shoe in the stirrup, then climbing on the “horse”, several times.

The Children’s Discovery Room had a variety of displays. For painting and drawing classes, formica-covered counters could seat quite a few future artists. Kids could also stick felt designs on backgrounds of Russell paintings, creating their own art.

A teepee was sitting in the corner and kids could play there, or just climb in and out. One display had pelts from different animals and there were small blanket-style coats that kids could try on, all from the era of Charlie Russell.

It was a fun outing, not a lengthy museum visit, but great exposure for kids to see one of our fantastic museums whose namesake helped shape Great Falls’ history.



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