"…[E]ach and every article owned by me, which is or may be considered in any way a souvenir of my late husband, General George Armstrong Custer… I give to my Executor with instructions to deliver the same over to a Public Museum or Memorial which may be erected on the battlefield of the Little Big Horn in Montana…"
Elizabeth Bacon Custer's
Last Will and Testament, Fourth Codicil
"My people the Crow Indians call me High Bird, but my tribal enrollment name is Joseph Medicine Crow. I probably have more connection with this Custer Battlefield than anybody else. I [personally] have known three of the Crow Indian Scouts who fought here: White Man Runs Him was my grand uncle, I knew Curley, and I knew Hairy Moccasin. This has been a good location for a long time. This place here, Garryowen, Montana, is probably the most historically important place in this part of the northwest. Mrs. Custer's collection of manuscripts is quite an addition to its importance. It's all here. Now its time has come. We hope we will find one person who is interested in the history of this part of the west to carry on, to enlarge this place with a new building. It will be quite a place here; I think a very important place. It is a gateway to the Big Sky Country, and to Indian Country."
Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow,
Crow Tribal Historian, age 94
At Garryowen, the legacies of Custer and of the American Indians who locked in deadly conflict with him are now joined.
The combination of the profound historical significance of the site and its monuments; of the presence of a rich, virtually untouched manuscript collection which truly belongs here; and of the facilities and infrastructure ripe for a substantial enterprise – all these factors together beg for the touch of a philanthropic visionary who has the resources to preserve this remarkable historical legacy and create a world-class facility in which to display and share it.
Elegant elevation drawings for a proposed new museum and research facility, anchored by the Elizabeth Bacon Custer Manuscript Collection, have already been drawn up. As stated in her will, Libbie Custer's final wish that her treasured archive of documents make its way to the Little Big Horn to be kept in posterity. Mrs. Custer's wish has come true, but it requires someone with the resources and the vision to prepare it for public education and enjoyment.
Garryowen is a dream location. It occupies ground sacred to the American historical consciousness; it houses a tomb of national importance; and the largest collection of Custer-related documents in the world calls Garryowen home. The site has a dedicated exit from a stretch of interstate highway between the two most popular tourist destinations in the country – Yellowstone Park and Mount Rushmore. Every year, 3.8 million vehicles traverse this stretch of I-90, and four hundred thousand visitors climb Last Stand Hill.
Garryowen's new caretaker may choose to work from the current graceful and impeccably maintained structures; to construct a stunning new facility as envisioned by its current owner; or to bring a fresh enterprise to this location. Whatever the choice, a streamlined facility and an unparalleled opportunity await a person of passion and imagination.