Record Store Profiles

The Wax Museum Is A Hidden Gem Among Bozeman Record Stores

It’s easy to miss The Wax Museum.

While the word “museum” evokes thoughts of cavernous exhibit halls, The Wax Museum in Bozeman, Montana is a tightly packed store sandwiched among an industrial communication business and a shop that installs outdoor signage. A coffee roasting operation shares half of the suite with the record store.

Rob Carroll photo

It’s cozy inside The Wax Museum, but in a way that feels like you’re talking music with friends in your garage.

The store, sitting at the northeastern edge of Bozeman at 404 East Bryant Street, makes the most of its narrow confines. Up front are rows of new vinyl while the back room is nearly overflowing with used titles.

And it’s not a bunch of beat-up records that have already been picked over either. I didn’t have to look hard to find gems from Bonnie Raitt, The Beach Boys and the Eagles (sorry, Dude).

The fact that a used copy of “Cheap Trick At Budokan” and something called “The Adventures Of Luke Skywalker” from “The Empire Strikes Back” found their way into my bag speaks to the scope of the used section at The Wax Museum.

Prefer your music on CD? 8-Track? The Wax Museum has used titles in both formats.

Rob Carroll photo

There’s plenty to love in The Wax Museum’s new vinyl section as well. Just don’t expect to find several copies of each title.

With relatively tight space, new music is typically limited to one or two copies on the shelf. In other words, be prepared to buy what you find that day because it might not be there your next visit.

Much like The Wax Museum’s used section, the new vinyl offers a wide range of artists across several formats – from Otis Redding to LCD Soundsystem to Jason Isbell.

Rob Carroll photo

According to a story published by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, The Wax Museum was opened by Kels Koch in April 2020.

Koch, a Montana native, was no stranger to the local music scene having played in various bands throughout the 80s. He also spent time working at another Bozeman staple among vinyl collectors, Cactus Records and Gifts.

The Wax Museum’s website has an easy-to-use form to get a quote from Koch if you’re looking to sell some of your collection.

In addition to buying used music, The Wax Museum regularly adds to its inventory of titles including those available on Record Store Day.

According to a description on the Record Store Day website, The Wax Museum is a “small new & used record store with a heavy emphasis on re-issues with prominent genres being rockabilly, garage rock, vintage soul and R&B, girl groups, proto punk, and ’70’s and ’80’s punk and new wave.”

That’s, really, just a small sample of what you’ll find in the bins at The Wax Museum. And while the shop might be out of the way for some in Bozeman, vinyl seekers are rewarded with one of the best views they’ll find outside of any music store.

Rob Carroll photo

The Wax Museum is open 1 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.

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