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. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Wednesday, January 4, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Montana State Capitol
The Future of Montana’s History.  Join us in the capitol rotunda for informal exhibits and displays explaining the Montana Historical Society and its operations. There will be a wealth of information on new technology, special events, and programs that put MHS’ tremendous collections at your fingertips.

Thursday, January 5, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Thursday Night at the Museum—The Montana Memory Project: Where Montana’s Rich Past Meets its People.  Operated by the Montana State Library, the Montana Memory Project is a digital repository that includes digitized maps, photographic prints, rare books, historic documents, government records, diaries, oral histories, and illustrations from the collections of 48 institutions located across the state. Project Director Jennifer Birnel will provide an overview of the many resources that are available on the website and tips to help users discover these historical treasures readily available to all Montanans.

Monday, January 9, noon and 7:00 p.m. Note: this program is being offered twice to accommodate more attendees.
Celebrating Helena’s Central School: Sketching Its History and Future.  Join MHS Interpretive Historian, Ellen Baumler and Preservation Architects Dustin Kalanick with MPA and Lesley Gilmore of CTA Architects/Engineers, for a fun and informative talk sponsored by the Montana Preservation Alliance on Helena’s oldest public school—Central School. Learn from Baumler about the property’s early days as a cemetery, stories of the 1936 earthquake, and why the Battlefield is called the Battlefield. Kalanick and Gilmore will share cost information and floor plans for a 21st Century renovated Central School alongside case studies of how other historic schools in seismic zones across the West have been rejuvenated to serve as safe, inviting, high-functioning historic schools.

Thursday, January 12, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Thursday Night at the Museum—Art and Democracy: It All Comes Together in Jazz. America is the only place where the art form called jazz could have been created. Saxophonist Wilbur Rehmann will begin by describing the roots of jazz in the field hollers and work songs of slaves and then follow the art form through the modern jazz era of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Rehmann will illustrate points with examples from recordings, his own saxophone playing, and video footage.

Saturday, January 14, 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.

Wednesday, January 18, 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Friends of the Montana Historical Society Public Program—Stopping along the Way. 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 pattern of stewardship for the land that continues today.

Thursday, January 19, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Thursday Night at the Museum—Hooked: Fishing in Montana exhibit opening.
Featuring historic art and artifacts, the Society’s newest exhibit will explore the impact of fishing in the Treasure State, including tribal lifeways and knowledge; family ties and
communities built around fishing; and the art and craft of tools, flies, and canoes. In addition to serving refreshments during the reception, we’ll be showing historic footage produced by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks throughout the evening. Friday, January 20, 2:30 p.m., at the Myrna Loy Center, 15 N. Ewing St.
Historic Preservation Awards ceremony and reception. Join Lt. Governor Mike Cooney in honoring people and projects that have contributed to the preservation of Montana’s historic resources in significant ways and in recognizing properties that have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places within the past two years.  

Thursday, January 26, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Thursday Night at the Museum—A Nation of Sportsmen: Thinking Historically about Hunting in the Postwar United States. MHS Associate Editor Dr. Randall Williams will discuss several cultural and political developments related to hunting's expanded popularity in the United States after World War II, and the ways in which those changes have given shape to its contemporary significance in American life


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

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

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