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, May 4, 6:30 p.m.   Thursday Night at the Museum— Thundersticks: Firearms & the Violent Transformation of Native America.  Dr. David J. Silverman—Professor of History at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.—will discuss and sign his new book, which brings insight into the relationship between Indians and European-manufactured firearms. In Thundersticks, Silverman argues that, contrary to some historic narratives, Native peoples fully recognized the potential of firearms to assist them in their struggles against colonial forces and against one another, empowering tribes to pursue their interests and defend their political and economic autonomy for over two centuries.

Thursday, May 11, 6:30 p.m.  Thursday Night at the Museum—From Banning TNT to Scanning DNA: What 100-Plus Years of Fisheries Management Says about Montana and Its People. Please join Amber Steed, Fisheries Biologist, FWP Region 1, and Tom Dickson, Editor of Montana Outdoors, as they share how Montana’s fisheries management has evolved since its beginning, and how these changes reflect our collective values and priorities. Through images and stories, Steed and Dickson will examine significant milestones and the changing physical and political landscapes that have shaped how FWP has managed our state’s aquatic resources for the public, historically today.

Saturday, May 13, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Second Saturday at MHS— Bring your Mom to the Museum! 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. in a program the whole family will enjoy, Missoula author Beth Judy will highlight stories of mothers and grandmothers from her new book Bold Women in Montana History .  From the Blackfeet warrior Running Eagle to the bronc-riding Greenough sisters, Alice and Marge, the eleven women portrayed in this engaging book were indeed bold—breaking down barriers of sexism, racism, and political opposition to emerge as heroines of their time. In honor of Mother’s Day, Judy will discuss the range of relationships between the book’s subjects and their mothers and daughters, then focus on two special stories: Crow medicine woman Pretty Shield and her daughters and granddaughter, Alma Hogan Snell, and Great Falls librarian Alma Smith Jacobs and the amazing story of her mother, Lucille Smith.  Additionally, special quilts from the Museum’s collection will be on display to accompany Judy’s talk.

Thursday, May 18, 6:30 p.m. Thursday Night at the Museum— The First Special Service Force and Helena: A Love StoryLearn how an elite force of American and Canadian soldiers came to Helena in 1942 to train for special operations in World War II and formed a bond with the community that lasted a lifetime. While these men are known collectively as the Devil’s Brigade, to many in Helena they are simply called “Dad” or “Granddad.”  Join history teacher, historical playwright, and curator of the Jefferson County Museum Terri Atwood as she shares the personal tales of these brave soldiers whose story is bigger than anything Hollywood could have imagined.

Thursday, May 25, 6:30 p.m. Thursday Night at the Museum— Following Nicolas Point through Blackfeet CountryIn 1846, Jesuit priest Nicolas Point began an eight-month sojourn among various bands of the Blackfoot Confederacy in what is now Northwestern Montana. In addition to his other endeavors, Fr. Point was also an artist who produced a visual record of the places and people he encountered. Today, his paintings provide an unparalleled visual record of traditional Blackfoot life. Missoula archaeologist, ethnographer, and ethnohistorian Dr. Sally Thompson will report on her collaborative project with a group of Blackfeet who, with Thompson, have been exploring these images from the perspective of cultural insiders.

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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