Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives

The Butte Silver Bow Public Archives was established in 1981 by ordinance to maintain the non-current records of the city-county of Butte-Silver Bow.  Given the significant industrial, political and social history of Butte in the American West, the government records and archival holdings are in great demand by scholars, authors and genealogists. 

To learn more about the Archives' services, events, and collections, visit their website at www.buttearchives.org.

The Mission of the Archives is to:

  • Be the official repository for all non-current government records of Butte-Silver Bow
  • Acquire, maintain and preserve historical documents, photographs and manuscripts pertaining to the history of Butte-Silver Bow
  • Provide public access to the document and manuscript collections at the Archives
  • Work with educators to enhance the classroom experience
  • Provide service to the preservation community of Butte-Silver Bow


The Archives is housed in a Fire Hall constructed in 1900 that is on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives research facility was restored in 2007, and the state-of- the- art archival vaults were constructed at the same time.   

The Collections

The Butte-Silver Bow Archives actively collects manuscripts, photographs, and government records pertaining to the history of Butte-Silver Bow.  The Archives holds over 2,000 collections comprising over 22,000 lineal feet.  The collections are comprehensive and interrelated and provide dynamic insights into the history of the second industrial revolution (the electrification of America) and the history of copper mining.  Butte is also the home of the world’s largest copper deposit, Butte was once one of the most radically and ethnically diverse settlements in the West and was the wellspring of the western labor movement. 

The records and manuscripts in the care of the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives provide essential information on a number of subjects in the American West, including the history of technology, environmental history, the history of women and minority groups, and labor history.  

The town grew on the side of The Hill 
and it was Butte all at once, out of the copper womb

~ Richard K. O'Malley