Welcome to the Montana Historical Society

Wednesday, September 21, 10:45 a.m.–noon. Friends of the Montana Historical Society Public Program—Major John Owen: From Walla Walla to Fort Benton and Beyond. MHS Museum technician Vic Reiman will recount the experiences of “Major” John Owen, who settled in the Bitterroot Valley in 1850 and, for the next twenty years, kept journals detailing his daily life. Owen made numerous trading trips throughout the region, and today his accounts of those travels provide an unparalleled source of information about western Montana’s residents and events during the 1850s.  

Thursday, September 22, 6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m. Presence of the Past Program Series—Bleed, Blister and Purge: The Medicine of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The Lewis and Clark expedition lasted nearly 2½ years, covered over 8,000 miles, and involved the efforts of more than 50 people, yet only one member of the Expedition died along the way. This extraordinary achievement in 19th century medicine was accomplished with no actual doctor in the Corps of Discovery. Was this great result a matter of luck, or is there more to early medicine than we believe? Join Jeff LaRock, Supervisory Interpreter at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls,  to hear the (sometimes) gory details of medicine on the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Thursday–Saturday, September 22–24, Hamilton and Stevensville. Roots and Branches: 175 Years of Montana History—the 43rd annual Montana History Conference. The conference will be headquartered at the Bitterroot Inn and Conference Centerin Hamilton. On Saturday the 24th we will travel to Stevensville to participate in that community’s  Founders Day Celebration  which commemorates the 175th anniversary of the founding of St. Mary’s Mission. To view the full program visit: History conference brochure.

Thursday, September 29, 6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m. Presence of the Past Program Series—The 1959 Yellowstone Earthquake. At 11:37 p.m. on August 17, 1959, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake rocked Montana’s Yellowstone country. In an instant, an entire mountainside fractured and thundered down onto the sites of unsuspecting campers. The mammoth avalanche generated hurricane-force winds ahead of it that ripped clothing from backs and heaved tidal waves in both directions of the Madison River Canyon. More than two hundred vacationers trapped in the canyon feared the dam upstream would burst. As debris and flooding overwhelmed the river, injured victims frantically searched the darkness for friends and family. Acclaimed historian Larry Morris tells the gripping minute-by-minute saga of the survivors who endured the interminable night, the first responders who risked their lives and the families who waited days and weeks for word of their missing loved ones. Following the talk, Morris will be available to sign copies of his new book.


Watch the video about our new exhibit, Big Game, Big Stories: Montana’s Hunting Heritage. For thousands of years, hunting has sustained the people of Montana physically, culturally, and spiritually. Get a behind-the-scenes view of the Society’s newest temporary exhibit which examines the diverse stories—ranging from the First Peoples’ nomadic hunting lifestyle to market hunters’ decimation of game to modern conservation efforts—that tell the history of hunting under the Big Sky.

Montana Historical Society logo. Big Sky. Big Land. Big History.

(406) 444-2694
(406) 444-2696 fax
P.O. Box 201201
225 N. Roberts
Helena, MT 59620

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