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, February 2, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Thursday Night at the Museum— Bee Mine: A Honey of A History. In the early 1900s, a knapweed invasion in the Bitterroot Valley wreaked havoc on local agriculture. Farmers ultimately responded by increasing honey production. Retired Deer Lodge park ranger and newspaper columnist Lyndel Meikle will link this episode to the larger story of Montana agriculture and reveal the identity of the real owners of the honey industry.

Thursday, February 9, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Thursday Night at the Museum—Me and Martha: Intimate Reflections of Dora DuFran about the Real Calamity Jane. The name Calamity Jane brings to mind a flamboyant character and icon of the American West. Accounts of Calamity—whose real name was Martha Canary—are legion and she has achieved mythical status in the lore of the frontier. Historic interpreter Mary Jane Bradbury will bring to life the story of the real woman behind the myth through her portrayal of prominent Deadwood, South Dakota, madam Dora DuFran, a Black Hills pioneer and close friend of Calamity. Join Bradbury for this debut presentation about two quite different women, one legendary, one all but forgotten.

Saturday, February 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. Helena historian Alan Thompson will present a program on the history of African Americans and Montana’s Equine Heritage.  Thompson will share stories, images, and artifacts from African American cowboys from Montana and the Northwest in celebration of National Black History Month.

Wednesday, February 15, 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 noon. Friends of the Montana Historical Society Public Program—Montanans on the Titanic The tale of the Titanic’s sinking looms large in our national and international histories. However, the tragedy left its mark on the Treasure State’s history as well. Millionaires, miners, and homesteaders were aboard the ill-fated vessel, headed to Montana in search of opportunity. Most perished. However, several amazing people lived to tell their tales. Join MHS Reference Historian Zoe Ann Stoltz as she adds Montana history to the Titanic’s legacy. 

Thursday, February 16, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Thursday Night at the Museum—Montana’s African American Heritage Resources. Although African Americans never totaled more than one percent of the state’s population, they have been in the place that would become Montana since the earliest days of non-Indian presence and contributed greatly to Montana’s culture, economy, and religious life. Each corner of the state has significant stories to tell about the African American experience in the West. Join MHS Community Preservation Coordinator Kate Hampton as she unveils the Society’s incredible new African American heritage website and delves into the resources it offers in celebration of Black History Month.

Thursday, February 23, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Thursday Night at the MuseumLewis & Clark vs Ursus Horribilis. The Corps of Discovery met countless challenges on their western trek, not the least of which was encounters with the grizzly bear. Grizzlies were virtually unknown in the “civilized” parts of the United States, but the explorers heard cautionary tales of these tremendous beasts from their hosts while wintering over with the Mandan in 1804-1805 and looked forward to seeing the bears first hand. Soon after their departure from Fort Mandan in April 1805, they got their wish. Join Duane Buchi of the Great Falls’ Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center as he introduces some of those early encounters with grizzly bears and discusses the ways in which bears helped shape how Corps members conducted day-to-day activities throughout the expedition.

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

Join Our E-mail Mailing List (coming soon)