The Frederic G. and Ginger K. Renner Research Center houses the research collections at the C.M. Russell Museum including more than 3,000 books on the art, culture, and history of the American West, as well as the personal research collections of several eminent Russell scholars. In particular, the Frederic G. and Ginger K. Renner Special Collection is a cornerstone of the C.M. Russell Museum’s archival collections that includes the Renners’ research files and card catalog documenting over 4,000 works of art by Russell. The Renner Collection, along with the other research collections, are open for research by appointment. Food and drink are not permitted in the library. Belongings may be checked in the museum’s coat-check room. Purses, bags, and backpacks may be subject to inspection when visitors are leaving.

To schedule a research appointment, please call Kathryn Kramer, Research Center Manager, at 406-604-4760.

Frederic Gordon Renner (1897–1987) was born in Great Falls, Montana, where in his early years he sometimes watched Charlie Russell at work in his log cabin studio. Renner was fascinated by Russell from an early age and as a child began collecting postcards and prints of Russell’s artwork. Later, as a respected specialist in soil conservation and range management, Renner headed the Range Management division of the United States Department of Agriculture for twenty-six years. After his retirement in 1961, he devoted his time to Russell’s research, making it his mission to document the entirety of Charlie Russell’s artistic output. By the time of his death in 1987, he had recorded more than 4,000 works of art by Russell.

Ginger K. Renner managed two successful Western art galleries in Palm Desert, California, and Jackson, Wyoming.  In 1973, she sold her interest in the galleries and married Fred Renner.  Each was the other’s third spouse.  After Fred’s death in 1987, Ginger continued to develop the research and art collections he had established, taking his place as a leading Russell authority.  She provided appraisals of Russell artwork and served on advisory boards for the C.M. Russell Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum, and the Fine Arts Department of the University of Montana.  She also contributed an essay to Charles M. Russell: A Catalogue Raisonné, the definitive catalogue of Russell’s work, which draws heavily on the information contained in the Renner collection.

Upon Ginger Renner’s death in 2011, the Renner estates gifted the contents of Fred and Ginger’s personal research library to the C.M. Russell Museum, including Fred Renner’s original card catalog of Russell artwork.