The Browning Firearms Collection
The C.M. Russell Museum helps visitors understand the significant role that firearms played in the history and culture of the American West by integrating the Browning Firearms Collection into the larger display of representational artwork created by Russell and his contemporaries, the artists who came before him, and those who followed him. The integral nature of firearms in the history of the American West is made evident by the prominent inclusion of firearms in paintings of the region and its cultures.
Using fine art to create a broader understanding of firearms, while simultaneously interpreting firearms to generate a deeper understanding of Russell’s works on canvas as well as his watercolors, drawings, sketches, and sculptures, makes the Browning Firearms Collection come alive. Interpreting the function and form of firearms adds to that understanding by creating a profound appreciation for the value of firearms as tools and their impressiveness as works of art in their own right. Telling a story that parallels the career of Russell and that of John and Matt Browning, creators of the Browning Firearms Company, results in a deeper engagement of viewers in their appreciation of the American West; moreover, learning the particulars of how and why Matt S. Browning III created the Browning Firearms Collection he donated to the C.M. Russell Museum engages the interests of all audiences.