Upper Musselshell Museum

  • This museum has unique paleontology displays, interpretation, replicas, or actual skeletons of dinosaurs and other fossils found in Montana.

11 & 36 South Central Ave.
Harlowton, MT 59036


Avaceratops lammersi, named “Ava,” is the museum’s centerpiece exhibit. Ava was discovered in the Judith River Formation north of nearby Shawmut and is the first fossil of its kind to be discovered. This primary exhibit is not the only ancient fossils you will find in the museum, Ava is accompanied by a hadrosaur tibia and fibula, as well as a number of other dinosaur leg and hip bone fossils. The Upper Musselshell Museum also displays geological specimen such as ancient sea creatures.

Did You Know?

In 1981, Eddie Cole found the fossil remains of a relatively small ceratopsian dinosaur. The newly discovered dinosaur was named after Cole’s wife, Ava. The Avaceratops is distinguishable from other horned dinosaurs (such as the Triceratops) by its solid and shell-shaped ridge around the base of the skull. Eddie Cole believed having his fossil discovery displayed in a museum would be the highest honor, this happened with the discovery of the Avaceratops lammarsi.

Where to Next on the Montana Dinosaur Trail?

Nearest to the South

Museum of the Rockies
Bozeman, 105 miles (2 hours)
US Highway 191 south from Harlowton to Big Timber; I-90 west from Big Timber to Bozeman.

Nearest to the West

Old Trail Museum
Choteau, 183 miles (3 hours)
US Highway 12 from Harlowton west to US Highway 89 (3 miles before White Sulphur Springs); US Highway 89 north from White Sulphur Springs to Belt (Kings Hill Scenic Byway); US Highway 200 west from Belt to Great Falls; I-15 west from Great Falls to US Highway 89/Vaughn Junction; US Highway 89 west from Vaughn then north to Choteau).

Nearest to the East

Garfield County Museum
Jordan, 186 miles (3 hours)
US Hwy 191 north from Harlowton to US Hwy 200 Junction at Eddies Corner; US Hwy 200 east from Eddies Corner through Lewistown onto Jordan.

Nearest to the North

Great Plains Dinosaur Museum and Phillips County Museum
Malta, 190 miles (3.75 hours)
US Highway 191 north US Highway 200 Junction at Eddies Corner; US Highway 200 east from Eddies Corner to Lewistown; US Highway 191 north from Lewistown to Malta.

While You’re in the Area

Chief Joseph Park

This park features tent sites, a picnic area with grills, a fishing pond, playground, and disc golf course, making it the perfect stop for a mid-day break.

Harlowton Railroad Depot Museum

Serving as a “Standard, Class A Passenger Station” through 1961, the abandoned depot yards have been reclaimed and visitors can now stop by the Milwaukee Depot Museum.

Jawbone Creek Golf Course

This golf course is a link-style course with 9-holes. It offers two sets of tees for an 18-hole feel and includes water, sand and hill features to create a challenging course.

Judith Gap Wind Energy Center

Wheatland county is putting its wind to work! The Judith Gap wind Energy Farm was built in 2005 with 90 towers and an expected annual production of 450,000,000 kilowatts of power.

Smoking Boomer Rail Trail

The Smoking Boomer Rail Trail runs near the Depot, a reclaimed walking trail with a tribute to Boomer, the local pipe smoking dog.

More to do in Harlowton