Whats New


The Brown Bag Lunch series is held during the noon hour on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month and features speakers throughout the community on a variety of history-related topics. Guests are encouraged to bring their sack lunches as they learn a bit of history!

MARCH 26: Glen Brackett, an avid fly fisherman, will talk about the evolution of technologies of fishing tackle, especially bamboo fly rods. Brackett is one of the country's premier craftsmen of bamboo rods.

APRIL 9: Jim Wright will present the work of twelve famous photographers who helped develop the art of photography in the early 20th century.

APRIL 23: Olivia Everett of the Imagine Butte Resource Center will discuss landscape-based artist residencies.

MAY 14: Glen Brackett and Bob Lienemann will do a presentation of the history of fishing in Montana. A big part of that will be on the early battles for public stream access.


The Archives has a number of unique gift items in its bookstore. Copper coins and bars are $5 and $25 -- beautiful gifts for old and young alike. To order coins and bars click here. If you want coins and bars on the weekends when the Archives is closed, you can stop by the Clark Chateau from 12 to 4:30 Sat. and Sun. For the genealogist in your family, a gift subscription to our online databases is a unique gift. Just give us a call so we can get your credit card information and email a gift certificate to your loved one. Call today. And don't forget the unique books about Butte in our Bookstore. Stop by or give us a call.


The collection contains about 15,000 negatives documenting Butte's rich history. The Archives will be the permanent, publicly accessible home for the photographs and negatives. C. Owen Smithers, Sr., was one of Montana's most prestigious professional photographers. Born in Kalispell, Smithers came to Butte in the 1920s. He captured fleeting moments of bustling Butte life. For 50 years he documented historical events with his camera: Butte sporting events and banquets, breweries and bars, mortuaries and gas stations, rodeos and roller coasters and presidents and paupers, among other events and personalities. The collection includes images of house fires, mining operations, the city’s ever-evolving streetscapes and historical pieces of Butte that have long been lost to time. The Smithers photographic collection is unparalleled in scope. Over the next year, the Archives will catalogue, preserve and digitalize the collection so it can be made available to the community, scholars and historians.


The Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives created this website to put historical records and information at your fingertips. The following resources can be accessed through the links above and at left:


Information from the following records and resources can be accessed for a fee: the five major cemeteries located in the county, immigration and naturalization documents, mine fatality records, mortuary records, obituary indices, delayed birth certificates, pauper applications, and mother/widow pension applications. Newly added are Building and Improvement Permits and Conditional Bills of Sale. We are just beginning data entry of these records and will add them to the website on a continuing basis. We currently have 20 databases on the website and will be adding more. We also provide access to a Chronology of Butte history that provides a list of significant events in Butte history from 1862 to 1986. The chronology is searchable by keyword or by year.


Our searchable online catalog provides information on the thousands of documents, photos, and other items stored in our vaults, reading room, vertical files, and library. The Catalog describes what we have on particular subjects and allows researchers to survey what they want to review before visiting our facility or requesting our assistance. Our Catalog of Collections is available at no cost.


Our bookstore features publications on Butte and Montana history, some of which are unique and cannot be found elsewhere. We also offer copper coins and bars designed especially for the Friends of the Butte Archives, Butte-related CDs and DVDs, and other items that have a relationship to Butte's rich history. All profits go to the Friends of the Butte Archives, our non-profit fundraising organization.


Click on the What's New button to see what new collections have come into the Archives, what new databases have been added to the Online Records Search, new publications or other products for sale, events that will take place, or exhibits that will be installed.