Although this roadside museum in Big Timber, Montana, may sound wild, it’s actually a history museum sharing the story of Sweet Grass County and the nearby mountain range, the Crazy Mountains.
The Crazy Mountains got their name from the Apsáalooke (Crow) Nation, who would head to the area to pray and fast, sometimes receiving revelations in return. They called the region Awaxaawapìa Pìa, which translates to “Ominous Mountains” or perhaps “crazy.”
There is a more outlandish—and apocryphal—story of a pioneer woman whose family was killed by Piegan (Blackfeet) Tribal members, who then fled into the mountains and lived as an outcast. This false and colonialist history is still sometimes still shared today.
The museum itself is mostly concerned with the settled history of the area of Big Timber. Exhibits include a look at the first settlers, industries such as mining and wool, and the Cobblestone City, a miniature diorama of Big Timber.
The museum is a site on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and features a garden with the types of plants that were collected from the expedition. Perhaps the highlight of the museum is the stabbur, a storehouse built and maintained by the Sons of Norway Fjeldheim Lodge #524, to honor Big Timber’s Norwegian heritage. Don’t worry, this crazy stabbur is completely harmless, and it even has a grass roof.
Know Before You Go
The Crazy Mountain Museum is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, and at other times by appointment. Admission is free.