Desert John’s Saloon Museum, Deerlodge, Montana

Desert John's Saloon in Deerlodge, Montana by Kathy Alexander.

Desert John’s Saloon is in Deerlodge, Montana, by Kathy Alexander.

Desert John’s Saloon Museum is just one of eight museums on a 22-acre complex known as the Powell County Museums in Deer Lodge, Montana. These historic museums, with their thousands of artifacts, historical information, and exhibits, are a destination in and of themselves. But, here, we’re talkin’ about Desert John’s Saloon Museum with a bar that dates back to the 1800s and hundreds of antique liquor bottles dating back to the Civil War.

The front portion of the building features the Frontier Museum with hundreds of items utilized by those long-ago frontiersmen, which include everything from pistols to knives, chaps, clothing, and Native American artifacts.

In the back of the building are two large rooms representing the era of the Old West saloon, featuring hundreds of old whiskey bottles, shot glasses, jugs, kegs, flasks, and more.

The walls are lined with colorful vintage advertising prints, posters, and mirrors hawking the wares of distilleries, breweries, and beer and liquor brands, often with scantily dressed women.

Behind the old 1800s, a long bar is an automated saloon keeper who tells the story of how the gleaming wooden bar was shipped up the Missouri River to Montana from St. Louis, Missouri. The saloon museum features the most complete collection of liquor memorabilia in the United States.

The Frontier Museum is located on Main Street in Deer Lodge off Interstate I-90 using exits 184 or 187. It is located in the Powell County Museum Complex, which exhibits eight unique museums. The complex also includes the Old Montana Prison, Montana Law Enforcement Museum, Powell County Museum, Frontier Montana Museum, Yesterday’s Playthings, old “Cottonwood City,” and the New Vintage Car and Transportation Museum.


Desert John's Saloon Museum Interior by Kathy Alexander.

Desert John’s Saloon Museum Interior by Kathy Alexander.

Contact Information:

Frontier Montana Museum
1106 Main Street
Deer Lodge, Montana 59722
406-846-0026 or 406-846-3111

©Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated February 2024.

Also See:

Montana Fun Facts & Trivia

Montana – Big Sky Country

Montana Photo Galleries

Quirky Montana