About Carter County Museum

The Carter County Museum, which is the first county museum in the state of Montana and the first to display fossils to the visiting public, is located at the head of Main Street in Ekalaka, Montana, a town of 400. Located in southeast Montana, Carter County resides on the ancestral lands of the Lakota (Sioux), Tsistsistas and So'taa'ee'o (Northern Cheyenne), Apsaalooke (Crow), Minnetaree (Hidatsa), Sahnish (Arikara) and Mandan indigenous nations.

Founded in 1936 by Walter Peck, DeLoss Hall and Septon “Zip” Cady, who were members of the Carter County Geological Society, the Carter County Museum serves the public through exhibitions, educational programming, outreach and historical preservation activities, which include an active fossil field program and prep lab. In 2013, the museum began hosting the Annual Dino Shindig, an event that invites these scientists to speak to the local community about their work in the area. The dinosaur festivities culminate with a street dance and expedition into Hell Creek in which families and amateur fossil enthusiasts can gain real-world experience in field paleontology. The Dino Shindig was named Montana’s Event of the Year by the Office of Tourism and Business Development in 2017. It is the primary driver of tourism to the area in July and an economic boon to businesses in the community.

Exhibits cover a comprehensive 90 million year history of the region, from fossil dinosaurs from the Western Interior Seaway through the extinction event in the K-Pg boundary of the Hell Creek Formation, Ice Age hunting techniques of paleoindian tribes, and homesteading in the West. Our exhibits include fully mounted skeletons of Anatotian copei and T. rex, a complete skull of Triceratops, mounts and casts of pachycephalosaurus, mosasaur, and a pterosaur as well as displays on the enduring cultures of American Indian nations in the area, natural history, ranching, rodeo, and the story of life on the Plains. The CCM is one of fourteen museums on the Montana Dinosaur Trail, a passport-style tour of Montana’s dinosaur-bearing institutions.

The CCM is a member of the Kumamoto Montana Natural Science Museums Association, Museum Association of Montana, Mountain Plains Museum Association and the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. We are a sister museum to the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman Montana, and a non-federal repository for Bureau of Land Management (BLM) fossils. The museum operates under a dual authority in which the museum is responsible for the display and safety of the collections, which are themselves owned by the Carter County Geological Society. The Carter County Geological Society is a 501(c)3 private foundation and a 509(a)2 public charity with the IRS. Carter County owns the land and buildings and provides payroll, utilities, maintenance, insurance, and capital improvements for the museum. This relationship has its roots in the Montana legislature with a journey that also begins in Ekalaka, one that grew to impact all museums in the state. 

Our Team

Executive Director

Sabre Moore, Ph.D. 

Sabre Moore is the Executive Director of the Carter County Museum in Ekalaka, Montana. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies with a focus in Public History from Montana State University in 2023, her M.A. in Museum Studies & Nonprofit Management from Johns Hopkins University in 2016, and  a B.A. in History from Montana State University in 2013. Her research focuses on museums and rural community vitality, and how power is exercised in practices of place. Sabre is the President of the Museums Association of Montana, Chair of Visit Southeast Montana, serves on the Montana Governor’s Tourism Advisory Council and is on the Board of Directors for Starry Skies Montana and Carter County Chamber of Commerce. In addition to being a DarkSky Advocate, she is an EMT for Dahl Memorial Healthcare Ambulance and a Site Steward for Medicine Rocks State Park and the Bureau of Land Management in Carter County, Montana.

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Curator of Paleontology

Nathan Carroll, Ph.D.

Dr. Nathan Carroll is the Carter County Museum's Curator of Paleontology and a founder of the Annual Dino Shindig event. Nathan received a B.S. in Earth Sciences from Montana State University, where he studied pterosaurs. His doctoral thesis at the Earth Science Department at the University of Southern California focused on flight-feather evolution studying three-dimensional amber, coprolites, and lithic fossils. He is excited that his flight research has landed him in Ekalaka. In addition to his curatorial duties, Nathan manages our paleontology lab and active field program.

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Assistant Director

Marilyn Schultz

Marilyn Schultz is the Assistant Director at the Carter County Museum. She was born and raised in the Ekalaka area and has more than a decade of experience with the CCM. Marilyn's favorite part of her job is working on the museum's extensive photography collection.

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Gift Shop Manager

Patrick Rouane

Patrick Rouane is the museum's Gift Shop Manager. He holds a B.S. in Earth Sciences from Montana State University-Bozeman. In addition to the gift shop, Pat works in the museum's paleontology lab preparing fossils and is part of our active field team.

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Receptionist, Database Assistant

Denise Elmore

Denise Elmore is the Receptionist and Database Assistant at the Carter County Museum. She is a National Association of Interpretation Certified Interpretive Guide and helps lead tours and design programs, particularly the Sewing Soiree monthly craft workshop and the Carter County Heritage Orchard project.

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Museum Educator

Barb Elmore

Barb Elmore came to the Ekalaka area around 30 years ago from Iowa. She taught school at Lame Deer, a one-room schoolhouse in Mill Iron, and Ekalaka Public Schools for 31 years. During her years of teaching she has attended many schools for continuing education, such as the MASTERS Project (Math and Science Teachers for Reservation School) at Kansas University, Cosmosphere: International SciEd Center and Space Center, University of Montana (writing program), and many classes from the BER program out of Bellevue, WA. Before her teaching career, Barb was a social worker for the State of Iowa. Barb loves to travel and has been to 37 states and 5 foreign countries. She and her husband, Shannon, own the BS Ranch, located south of Ekalaka. She has two daughters, Kimberlee and Barbara Rose. Rounding out the family are five dogs and one cat. Barb loves learning about new things and helping children explore their surroundings in a fun way