Caroline McGill was born in Ohio in 1879. McGill attended and graduated with the first doctoral degree awarded to a woman from the University of Missouri. McGill then moved to Butte after accepting a position at the Murray Hospital in 1910. McGill was hired as the first pathologist and female physician in Montana. McGill left Butte shortly after accepting her position at the Murray Hospital but only to further her education and graduated from John Hopkins in 1912. She then worked for the Mayo brothers before returning to Butte in 1913. She worked in the Murray Hospital until buying the building across the street from the hospital at 58 West Quartz in 1919.  McGill treated a variety of patients from all walks of life. She would take payment in the form of a barter and amassed a collection of porcelain artifacts from her Chinese patrons.

In 1936, she bought the 320 Ranch in Gallatin Canyon where she started a stockpile of items she felt were disappearing in order to create a museum someday. Her collection became so large that Montana State University in Bozeman allowed three World War II Quonset huts to be put on campus for it. In 1957, the Museum of the Rockies opened as the fruits of her labor. McGill died at age 79 in 1959.

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