The Russell House and Studio Project
Yesterday, Tomorrow and You
“We are partners. She is the business end and I am the creative… She lives for tomorrow and I live for yesterday; so it is the combination, which brings things to today.” -C.M. Russell
The C.M. Russell Museum complex includes two historic treasures – the Charles Marion Russell House and Studio – that tell the poignant story of both the man and his wife in the most intimate and arresting of ways.
We are now planning for the much-needed repair and conservation of the original Russell House and Studio, while also envisioning an exciting new reinterpretation of these nationally significant cultural artifacts.
The museum’s ultimate goal is to bring Charlie and Nancy to life for new and younger audiences, while helping longtime fans to appreciate, in a new light, their partnership and cultural contributions. New stories and new methods of storytelling are among the innovative formats being built into immersive environments where visitors become actors on a stage, participating in the stories as they unfold.
Existing nowhere else in the world, the Charles M. Russell house and studio are listed together as a National Historic Landmark. They not only reflect the life and work of Charlie Russell (1864-1926), “cowboy, artist, author, raconteur, and all-around Western philosopher,” but also the intimate partnership between he and his wife.
Nancy acted as Russell’s business manager, and her influence is credited with building his national reputation and financial success. While the home was primarily the center of the Russell’s domestic life and Nancy’s management of Charlie’s business, the studio was Charlie’s favorite place to work and socialize. When completed, Charlie said; “That’s going to be a good shack for me. The bunch can come visit, talk and smoke, while I paint.”
National Historic Landmarks retain a high level of historic integrity and are generally the most appropriate location to tell the story of individuals who played a noteworthy and meaningful role in the history of America. Charles and Nancy Russell are such individuals.
YESTERDAY, TOMORROW AND YOU
For a donor, the Russell House and Studio Project will have an enduring impact on the C. M. Russell Museum by helping conserve these historically significant structures that were so much a part of Charlie and Nancy Russell’s lives. His brilliant art and heartfelt concern for a changing West, and her stepping beyond expected female roles of the time create a story that’s as relevant today as it was yesterday, and will continue to be relevant to tomorrow’s generations. Conservation of the structures, a National Historic Landmark, along with new interpretive experiences will also give Russell enthusiasts a focal point for their pilgrimage to Great Falls during The Russell Exhibition and Sale, all of which will allow the C.M. Russell Museum to fulfill its vision of Sharing Russell’s West with Excellence. individuals.
Help us conserve our National Historic Landmark and share the story of Charlie and Nancy Russell by donating today to the Russell House and Studio Project. Without your help, our yesterdays and tomorrows just wouldn’t be the same.
This project has been funded in part by grants from:
The E. L. Wiegand Foundation
The Great Falls Development Authority
The Montana Fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation