Events and Education


In addition to museum tours, the Historic Crail Ranch stages summer events for residents and visitors. The presentations offer glimpses of local and regional history, from retrospectives about local homesteading families to impersonators of western historical figures.
In conjunction with the Big Sky Community Organization, Conservators lead easy hikes along trails where present day views are compared with vintage photos from the Crail Ranch Archives.


  • Interpretive History Hike – Tuesday, August 15th at 10:00 a.m.

Walk along Lone Mountain and Ousel Falls Road Trails and by using vintage photographs, view sightlines comparing present and past views. Learn about the ranching history of the South Fork and West Fork areas. Meet at Roxy’s Market to start the walk.

  • Nancy Cooper Russell “Kid Gloves & Brass Knuckles & Old Fashioned Picnic Lunch – Saturday, August 19th. Lunch provided starting at 12 noon and program will follow at 1:00. Free Admission

A “living history” presentation about the woman behind the highest paid painter of the time, Old American West’s Charlie Russell. Picnic lunch provided. Mary Jane Bradbury sponsored through Humanities Montana. Gifted storyteller Mary Jane Bradbury as Nancy Cooper Russell, wife and business manager of Montana’s western artist Charles M. Russell

  • Solar Eclipse 2017 – Monday, August 21st at 9:30 a.m. Free Admission

Watch with us and learn about eclipse science and history from an expert. You will see 97% coverage. Free viewing glasses. Bring a lunch and blanket. Soft drinks provided. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. The event is weather dependent.

Past events have included Artisan Markets, Community Picnics, and old-time music.


Historic Crail Ranch offers a coherent curricular experience to students in local schools and youngsters in local summer camps. Kids learn about the Homestead Era and Big Sky’s ranching roots through experiential activities held at the museum or brought into the classroom.

An introductory scavenger hunt permits children to discover and often touch the museum’s artifacts. Several simulated activities help kids to experience the challenges of working on a ranch and living on a homestead. Children harvest a garden, make butter, and learn simple crafts. Ranching topics also include harvesting hay, reading and designing ranch brands, and learning to rope.

Through old-fashioned games, kids learn about how kids had fun a century ago.

The Crail Ranch Homestead Museum had over 200 children visit the museum in 2017 either through a school field trip or a camp visit.

Living History:
Gifted storyteller Mary Jane Bradbury, visited Crail Ranch and brought along with her a friend…. Nancy Cooper Russell, wife and business manager of Old American West painter Charlie Russell. Join us next year on August 5, 2018 when Bradbury brings Calamity Jane to Big Sky. Crail Ranch’s living history events are funded through Humanities Montana.