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. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

*March Lecture Series celebrating Women’s History Month , every Wednesday in March at noon, sponsored by the Friends of the Montana Historical Society, $5.00 each or all five programs for $20.00. Brown bag lunches are welcome.

**Natural History Series sponsored by Last Chance Audubon Society offered in conjunction with the Society’s two current temporary exhibits, Big Game, Big Stories: Montana's Hunting Heritage and Hooked: Fishing in Montana. Come early and enjoy the museum galleries.


*Wednesday, March 1, 12:00 noon. Intimate West: Women Artists in Montana, 1880-1944. Barbara Koostra , the Suzanne and Bruce Crocker Director of the Montana Museum of Art & Culture at the University of Montana, will discuss paintings and photographs created by pioneering women artists—like Fra Dana, Josephine Hale, Frances Carroll Brown, Marguerite O. Stevens, Evelyn Cameron, and Elizabeth Lochrie—at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, and the contributions they made to Montana’s cultural life.

**Thursday, March 2, 6:30 p.m.  Thursday Night at the Museum— Waterfowl Conservation and Hunting Opportunities. Bob Sanders, Manager of Conservation Programs for Ducks Unlimited, will talk about Duck Unlimited’s efforts to conserve waterfowl production areas in Montana, thereby providing increased hunting opportunities for Big Sky sportsmen.

Monday, March 6, 12:00 noon . State of Montana’s American Indian Employment Working Group Lunch-and-Learn Event— Resilience: Stories of Montana Indian Women .  Helena scholar Laura Ferguson will share stories of individual Indian women—like Susie Yellowtail, a Crow nurse and Minnie Two Shoes, a Fort Peck journalist—who blazed trails in their respective professions. In addition, Ferguson will discuss women—like Belle Highwalking, Northern Cheyenne, and Cecelia LaRance Wiseman, Métis—whose stories illuminate a particular way of life at a specific time and place.

*Wednesday, March 8, 12:00 noon . Prohibition, Prostitution, and Murder in Helena. The 18th Amendment ushered in Prohibition, outlawing the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol and ushering in an epidemic of organized crime across the nation.  On December 2, 1929, a young woman was murdered on South Main Street in Helena. Her business partner was shot three times in the face and lived to name the alleged killer. But the Townsend man she identified was acquitted and the case was closed… until now. Join history teacher, historical playwright and curator of the Jefferson County Museum Terri Atwood as she delves into the question, “who killed Bobby Kelly?”

Thursday, March 9, 1:00 p.m. in the Montana State Capitol . Gallery of Outstanding Montanans Induction Ceremony  feting the two newest honorees in Montana’s hall of fame, Great Falls librarian and civic leader Alma Jacobs and Blackfeet novelist and poet James Welch.

**Thursday, March 9, 6:30 p.m.  Thursday Night at the Museum— Ethics and Conservation of Hunting. Jim Posewitz , retired Montana FWP biologist (1961-1993) and recipient of the Montana Wildlife Federation Conservationist Award of 2015, will talk about the ethics and conservation of hunting. Posewitz is the author of Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethics and Traditions of Hunting and an ardent advocate of ethical hunting.

Saturday, March 11, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.Second Saturday at MHS. Sponsored by the Helena Community Credit Union, Second Saturday features free admission all day long and drawings for door prizes. Free admission is also offered at the Original Governor’s Mansion, 304 N. Ewing, where tours begin on the hour at noon, 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 p.m. At 1:30 p.m. join MHS Research Center staff for a special program Digging Deeper: Exploring Historical Resources . The program is suitable for all “students” ages six to eighty!

*Wednesday, March 15, 12:00 noon . They Answered the Call. MHS interpretive historian Dr. Ellen Baumler will tell the story of the evolution of professional nursing in Montana. Her talk follows the legacy of Methodist deaconesses who came from Chicago to Great Falls beginning in 1898. Nursing programs at that time were more about caretaking than science. These women, part of a ground-breaking national movement, eventually founded many hospitals in Montana communities and ushered in a national trend to link training programs with university systems.

**Thursday, March 16, 6:30 p.m. Thursday Night at the Museum— Wild Trout ManagementDick Vincent, retired fisheries manager from FWP, will talk about his research on the Madison River in the 1960s and 1970s that led to the current Wild Trout management philosophy and the end of stocking hatchery trout in rivers and streams.

*Wednesday, March 22, 12:00 noon  Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History: Women in Science. Until recent times, scientific pursuits were thought to be the work of men, far beyond the capabilities of any woman. The brave women who persisted in crossing gender boundaries opened the realm of scientific study to a whole new perspective, shedding light on the study of the world around us. Independent scholar and actress Mary Jane Bradbury will draw on the lives and writings of science pioneers—like Martha Maxwell, Rocky Mountain naturalist; Maria Mitchell, astronomer; Ruth Underhill, anthropologist; and Rachel Carson, biologist—to share this tale.

** Thursday, March 23, 6:30 p.m. Thursday Night at the Museum—Tribal Hunting and Fishing. Tom McDonald , manager of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation, and Conservation Department for the Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribe (CSKT), and Dale Becker, CSKT Wildlife Program Manager, will talk about the history of tribal hunting and fishing on the Flathead Reservation.

*Wednesday, March 29, 12:00 noon  Women’s War Work. During the Great War, Many Montana women chose to break gender barriers by serving as nurses and radio operators. Those who remained in Montana were often recruited by the Red Cross for local events and fundraising. In addition to their days’ regular chores they learned to Hooverize. They recycled, canned, knit, served meatless meals, rationed butter and wheat, and raised their children while awaiting news from the front. Many battled the Spanish Influenza, while others became Gold Star Mothers after losing loved ones. MHS Reference Historian Zoe Ann Stoltz will detail the vital role that Montana women played in WWI.

Wednesday, March 29, 7:00 p.m. High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic.   Montana’s Gary Cooper is famous for his portrayal of a sheriff who stands alone against corruption in the movie classic High Noon.     Taken at face value the film is a great western movie, but perhaps history will remember it better as a condemnation of the blacklisting which occurred during the 1950s. Join Pulitzer Prize winning author Glenn Frankel as he provides a sweeping look at Cooper’s entire career while focusing on Hollywood’s “Red Scare.”

Thursday, March 30, 6:30 p.m. Thursday Night at the Museum —Stopping along the Way. In an encore presentation of a program she delivered in January, MHS Interpretive Historian Dr. Ellen Baumler will explore the long and varied history of the Sieben Ranch in the Helena Valley. Stopping Along the Way will peel back the layers of the area’s prehistory and history to reveal some surprising occupants, a diversity of human experience, a depth of contribution, and a commitment to stewardship that continues today.

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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