The Yellowstone Art Museum collects contemporary American art with an emphasis on the northern Rocky Mountain and Plains regions. The YAM accessioned its first work of art in 1964. Collecting became strategic and intentional in 1984, thanks to a major grant from the Montana Cultural Trust (coal tax fund) and generous individual donations. The Visible Vault now houses the largest permanent collection of contemporary art in the region. Approximately 3,500 works of art are preserved along with thousands of sketches, photographs, correspondence, and other archival materials.