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, November 3, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Location: Montana State Capitol. Thursday Night at the Museum—Jeannette Rankin: America’s Conscience. On Nov. 7, 1916, Montanans elected Jeannette Rankin to become the first woman to serve in the United State Congress. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of that momentous event, professional actress and historian Mary Jane Bradbury will present a first person program that will tell Rankin’s story from grassroots suffragist to her election to Congress, to her votes against entry into both World Wars, to her political activities that lasted up to the Vietnam War. Bradbury will use Rankin’s own words and views on equality and government reform.  Secretary of State Linda McCulloch will introduce the program, and talk about the importance of voting in the fall election. Free Refreshments will be served after the program.    

Thursday, November 10, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Thursday Night at the Museum—Over the Edge: Bison Jumps in Montana.  Jessica Bush—Review and Compliance Officer for the State Historic Preservation Office—will begin with a brief look at the history of prehistoric bison hunting and focus on the use of bison jumps in the state of Montana. By highlighting several examples from across the state, this talk will explain how bison jumps, while similar in concept, vary in the methodology used to herd and stampede the bison to the final kill site. Come to the talk early and enjoy the Society’s newest temporary exhibit, Big Game, Big Stories: Montana’s Hunting Heritage.

Saturday, November 12, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 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. 

Saturday, November 12, 1:30 p.m. MHS Interpretive Historian and award-winning author Dr. Ellen Baumler will discuss, and sign, her newest book, Ghosts of the Last Best Place.  Montana’s past embodied the rough, unforgiving and often vicious nature of the old Wild West. Unscrupulous gold camps and railroad expansion attracted the good, bad and ugly from all across the Union and as far as China. Many a soul shed blood under the Big Sky, leaving restless spirits to linger. Discover the famous cowboy artist who refuses to leave his Missoula home. Exhume the truth behind Stormit Butte, investigate the mystery at Brush Lake and become enraptured with the firsthand account of a Browning rancher’s attempts at reconciliation with the ghost of a murdered Chinese rail laborer. 

Thursday, November 17, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Thursday Night at the Museum—Old Butchering Habits. In conjunction with the exhibit Big Game, Big Stories: Montana’s Hunting Heritage, Sheridan, Montana, historian and interpreter Billy Maxwell will discuss traditional Native American butchering techniques. Maxwell notes that “routines practiced just fifty to 500 years ago are not all forgotten. Come see some of the tricks that can alter your dining and food saving. Join me for a 45-minute review of items in the Montana Historical Collections and images that address the guts of internal archaeology,” promising, “You will enhance your game, roadkill, or domestic critter use by attending."

Thursday, November 24. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday and Saturday, November 25–26, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. “Black Friday” at the Museum Store.  The MHS Museum Store is a great place to shop on the Friday & Saturday after Thanksgiving!  Avoid the crowds and enjoy shopping our hand-picked selection of Montana books, jewelry, and gifts.  Open 9-5 both days with free gift wrap. Don’t forget that MHS memberships make great presents for the history-lovers in your life and MHS members receive a 15% discount on most store purchases.

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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