Great Falls 2018

C.M. Russell Museum – C. M. Russell House Restoration

C. M. Russell Museum replaced the wall paper on the first floor of the Russell house to match the wall paper originally installed by Charlie and Nancy Russell when the house was built in 1900. The original wall paper was repeatedly covered up, even as late as the 1970s, with up to five layers of new wallpaper.

When the great Western artist Charles Marion Russell and his wife, Nancy Cooper Russell, moved to Great Falls in 1900, they built a frame house on Front Street and, three years later, a log cabin studio on the same block. The couple lived in the house, becoming an integral part of the community until his death in 1926. In 1965, the structures were designated together as a National Historic Landmark, underscoring both Russell’s significance as one of America’s preeminent Western artists and the structures’ significance as the best physical location to gain an in-depth understanding of Russell as a man and as an artist. While the studio was Russell’s domain, the house was Nancy’s. Not only did she manage the couple’s domestic life within its walls, she worked as Charlie’s business manager and publicist. Nancy is now credited with much of Russell’s national recognition and success.