Montana Historical Society Heritage Keepers Award

The Montana Historical Society's Board of Trustees' Heritage Keepers Awards honor exemplary work, commitment, and effort in identifying, preserving and presenting the history and heritage values of Montana for current and future generations. List of past awardees (PDF).

Purpose of the Award

To recognize those individuals, families, organizations, educators, historians, and others whose efforts have had a significant impact on generating interest in and the preservation of the rich and diverse history of Montana.

Award Specifications

Two (2) Heritage Keeper Awards will be given annually. One award will honor an eastern Montana Heritage Keeper, and the other will honor a western Montana Heritage Keeper. (West of Lewistown=western; Lewistown and east=eastern.)

The Montana Heritage Guardian Award, an additional award, may occasionally be given under special circumstances to a deserving individual who meets the same criteria for the Heritage Keepers Award. These awards will be considered from among the nominations received.

Award Criteria

Nominations will honor living individuals or currently active groups. A nominee may be a person, committee or group that has significantly contributed to the ongoing preservation and/or education of Montana history with a statewide, regional or community focus within the long and varied history of Montana.

The person(s) or group selected for this award should have demonstrated commitment to a significant Montana history goal that results in projects, objects or property that contributes to the general public's Montana history knowledge or education. The nominee(s) should show a commitment to their goal beyond the confines of making a livelihood.

An example of nominees for this award might include cultural groups; artists; educators; authors; genealogists; historians; preservationists; archivists; historical groups and clubs that have focused on the ongoing and continuing of preservation and interpretation of historical items, ideas or cultural landscapes.

Criteria for judging will include how well the nominees' work/ project enhances, promotes, and encourages the interest within its particular area of Montana history. Areas may include historic building preservation, research, historical literature, fine art history, historical reenactments, and efforts that promote, encourage, and educate future generations to keep the legacy of Montana history alive.

Nomination Procedure

The Heritage Keepers Award will be promoted through a variety of methods, including statewide archival, museum and preservation newsletters, list-serves, state wide press releases and on the Montana Historical Society website.

Nominations for the Heritage Keepers Award should include:

  • Nomination Form (PDF)
  • Nomination Narrative
  • Supporting Documentation. Items that demonstrate the outcome and effectiveness of the nominee's work, i.e. news articles, commendations, letters of support (no more than 3).

Anyone, including MHS staff and Trustees, can submit a completed nomination form by mail, fax or e-mail to:

Heritage Keepers Awards Chair
Montana Historical Society
225 North Roberts
P.O. Box 201201
Helena, MT 59620-1201
406-444-2696 (fax)

Award nominations should be received at the Montana Historical Society no later than March 15. Nominations may be resubmitted and/or reconsidered on an annual basis if the person or group did not receive an award in the previous year or years.

The Heritage Keepers Award Committee will select and recommend finalists to the MHS Board of Trustees at the April Board meeting. Each year Trustees, by majority vote, will select the Heritage Keeper Awardees. MHS staff will contact all those who submitted nominations with results. The Heritage Keepers Awards will be presented at the annual Montana History Conference held in the fall.