Moving Images

Recognizing the importance of moving images and the need to preserve them as historical records, the MHS Research Center’s Photograph Archives began collecting films and videotapes in the 1960s. Our collection includes moving images made by Montana filmmakers, mostly amateurs, and films produced by Montana production companies and made by and for Montana State agencies. As an archive, we focus primarily on preserving our film and video holdings and making them available for on-site viewing in the Research Center.

Services available

  • Video and digital access copies are available for only a few of our films. These access copies are available for screening by researchers in the Research Center.
  • The Photograph Archives film collections are archival in nature and are made available chiefly for on-site research on the premises. We may be able to provide copies of some items, but only if copyright, preservation, donor restrictions and time allow.
  • The Photograph Archives outsources moving image (or motion picture) transfers. A third-party film preservation service cleans, preserves, and digitizes our moving images.
  • Most of our films have not been fully cataloged and are accessible primarily by title. Identifying films by subject requires assistance from the reference staff. A personal visit to the Photograph Archives is recommended. Our hours are Tuesday-Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Appointments for onsite reference assistance should be made in advance, with a minimum of 10 days’ notice.
  • Our reference staff is unable to answer stock footage requests, conduct lengthy subject searches, select images, or undertake extensive research projects.
  • Research requests by mail, email, and phone are accepted.
  • To view film prints for which there are no access copies, an appointment with the film archivist is required. We are unable to accommodate groups.

To learn more about our moving image collection, contact us at 406-444-4739 or photoarchives@mt.gov.

Frame from black and white, silent film titled: Rosebud County Fair and Rodeo (1926), Catalog #PAc 92-34.  Footage taken by Walter B. Dean, Jr.