The Long Trail Warbonnet of Chief Froze, Gallatin Collection

In the reservation era, Blackfeet men adopted this Sioux-style warbonnet. The men who wore these early reservation warbonnets would not have actually worn them in war.

At the foot of the Big Horn Mountains in northern Wyoming, a century-old ranch plays host to a small art museum. It’s quite an idyllic setting — but just a few years ago, the Brinton Museum’s finances didn’t paint such a pretty picture.

An endowment set up in 1960 preserved the historic ranch near Sheridan, Wyo., as well as the bachelor-rancher Bradford Brinton’s art collection. By 2008, though, it seemed that before long the museum would have to close, says the place’s director, Ken Schuster.

“You could really see the writing on the wall,” Schuster says.  CLICK HERE TO READ OR LISTEN TO THE FULL STORY ON NPR.ORG …