Public Programs

The Montana Historical Society hosts regularly scheduled public programs on a wide variety of topics relating to the Treasure State’s history and culture. Most programs take place on Thursday evenings (excluding holidays and a summer break). The Friends of the Montana Historical Society sponsor public programs the third Wednesday of each month, September through May (excluding December), and an annual March Lecture Series in celebration of Women’s History Month. Every fall the Society holds its annual Montana History Conference. Exhibit openings, curator tours, and family programs also enliven the year.

Thursday, October 6, 6:30 p.m. Billings Author Russell Rowland spent two-years travelling the diverse parts of Montana to find out who its people are, where they came from and what they are in the process of becoming. He will present his findings from his new book, Fifty-Six Counties: A Montana Journey. Before his recent death, noted Montana author Ivan Doig reviewed Rowland’s first novel and wrote “Russell Rowland has given us a vivid and distinctive piece of homespun to take its proper place in the literary quilt of the West.” The new book is available in the MHS Museum Store, and Rowland will be available after the program to sign copies of it.

Saturday, October 8, 1:30 p.m. Montana Department of Transportation historian Jon Axline will discuss, and sign, his new book, The Beartooth Highway: A History of America’s Most Beautiful Drive. Traversing the spectacular Beartooth Highway in Montana and Wyoming is an unforgettable experience. The unspoiled mountain scenery along the highway inspired famed news correspondent Charles Kuralt to label it “America’s most beautiful drive,” yet the story behind this engineering marvel is largely unknown. It is an epic account of man versus nature to construct a road through unforgiving wilderness. Built during the height of the Great Depression and rising 10,947 feet above sea level, the Beartooth Highway sparked an economic boom in Red Lodge, Cooke City and Yellowstone National Park. Understandably, it continues to leave a profound impression on people privileged to drive it. This program is being offered as part of Second Saturday at MHS. Sponsored by the Helena Community Credit Union, “Second Saturday” features drawings for door prizes and free admission all day long to Montana’s Museum and the Original Governor’s Mansion, 304 N Ewing. Tours at the Original Governor’s Mansion begin on the hour at Noon, 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 p.m.

The Montana Historical Society's Research Center offers a variety of Programs on an ongoing basis. Contact them at

To arrange speakers for your group or organization, or other questions regarding public programs, contact Kirby Lambert at (406) 444-4741 or

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