The C.M. Russell Museum is proud to reveal and open to the public the Frederic G. and Ginger K. Renner Research Center, a space newly re-modeled to better accommodate the needs of both researchers and the museum’s research collections themselves. Improvements in storage, lighting, and cataloguing have been accomplished concurrently with the creation of a quiet, pleasant reading room conducive to research and collection security. A selection of artifacts and rare books from the Renner collection have been placed on display in the reading room, including furniture and decorations from Frederic Renner’s home office.

The research collections at the C.M. Russell Museum include 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 now open for research by appointment.

Hours are currently by appointment only. Please call Kathryn Kramer at (406) 727-8787 to schedule an 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.

 

Frederic G. and Ginger K. Renner

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 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.

For more library and research information and to view and download request forms, please use the links below:

Click here to View/Download Appraisal Information

Click here to View/Download a Library Research Request Form

Click here to View/Download the Rules Governing Access and Use of Collections

 

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