Payne Family Donates $5 Million for Montana Museum of Art and Culture

Oct. 3, 2019

MISSOULA – From historical treasures of Europe to dramatic art of the American West, the Permanent Collection of the Montana Museum of Art and Culture at the University of Montana represents the deepest holdings of art in the state and among the oldest in the Northwest.

A new $5 million gift from the Terry and Patt Payne Family will enable MMAC to bring the collections into public view and engagement. A portion of this generous gift forms the lead investment to build a new home to manage and exhibit the collection.

The proposed Montana Heritage Pavilion will allow the museum to transfer thousands of compelling works of art from campus storage to display.

“We are enthusiastic to be a catalyst in bringing the art treasures of the University of Montana to the light of day so that they may be displayed for all to enjoy after such a long period of storage,” said Terry Payne.

The Payne Family gift launches efforts to inspire other philanthropic gifts to support construction of a proposed pavilion building. University officials will determine the campus location and design of the facility in the coming months.

“This addition to our campus will become an exciting destination in our community, state and region,” UM President Seth Bodnar said. “It will be a place of gathering, but more importantly, a manifestation of our enduring commitment to the arts and history.”

Among the works that will benefit from a new facility are the nine masterpieces that MMAC received in 2018 from the estate of Sen. William A. Clark. This collection includes a relief sculpture of the “Madonna with Child” attributed to Italian Renaissance sculptor Donatello and a painting by the 18th-century English artist Thomas Gainsborough.

“The MMAC’s Permanent Collection holds thousands of works of art from many cultures across time, representing more than 2,000 years of human creativity,” said H. Rafael Chacón, the Suzanne and Bruce Crocker Director of MMAC. “What’s exciting about this particular moment is that, for the first time in close to 125 years, we are on the threshold of sharing that collection on a large scale.”

Terry Payne is a 1963 UM graduate who received an honorary doctorate from the University in 2014. Together with his wife, Patt, Terry also has invested in the Payne Family Native American Center, that center’s Elouise Cobell Land and Culture Institute, and a number of student scholarships.  

The Payne Family gift is part of Campaign Montana, a comprehensive, seven-year fundraising campaign that is inspiring $400 million in philanthropic giving to UM through 2020. Donors will help achieve UM’s vision of a university that puts student success at the forefront, driving excellence and innovation in teaching, research and learning. The campaign is managed by the UM Foundation. Visit to learn more.