Celebrate Montana history with us! Your interest and love of Montana’s past energizes our work. With your help, more real stories of the past can be shared and more history is preserved for future generations. We invite you to enjoy, engage, explore, know, visit, and preserve Montana history by joining and supporting the Montana Historical Society.
Upcoming Films and Events
Thursday, September 12, 6:30 p.m.
Miss Montana to Normandy: One Family’s Connection to People, Places, and History
Last summer, John Tubbs' brother Bill invited him to the Missoula Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Fly-In to see the C-47 aircraft—dubbed Miss Montana—that dropped the smokejumpers into Mann Gulch on August 5, 1949. Once there, connections to the people, places and history merged into a powerful family tale. Tubbs, Director of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, will bring these connections to life as he talks about the history of this C-47 aircraft, Johnson Flying Service, the Tubbs family, and the Gates of the Mountains.
Saturday, September 14, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Second Saturday at MHS
Sponsored by Intrepid Credit Union, Second Saturday at MHS 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.
Saturday, September 14, 1:30 p.m.
Author talk and book signing with John Fraley, author of Rangers, Trappers, and Trailblazers.
The North, Middle, and South Forks of the Flathead River drain some of the wildest country in Montana, including Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. In Rangers, Trappers, and Trailblazers, Fraley recounts the true adventures of people who earned their living among the mountains and along the cold, clear rivers in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Fraley’s talk will focus on the life and times of Henry Thol, the ranger's ranger, who happily snowshoed hundreds of miles through deep snows and minus-40 cold to patrol the South Fork wilderness. Tragedies and near-misses abound, but these are balanced with tales of courage, endurance, and remarkable personal achievement. Fraley tells all in intriguing detail wrested from primary sources.
Wednesday, September 18, 10:45 a.m.
Author talk and book signing with Brian D’Ambrosio, author of Montana Entertainers: Famous and Almost Forgotten. Treasure State stars Gary Cooper and Myrna Loy found unparalleled success during the Golden Age of Hollywood. For more than a century, Montana has supplied a rich vein of entertainment and personality—from daredevils to dancers and even mimes. Born in Miles City in 1895, comedian Gilbert “Pee Wee” Holmes played sidekick to such stars as Tom Mix. One-time Butte resident Julian Eltinge went on to become America’s first famous female impersonator. There was Taylor Gordon, whose golden voice propelled the son of a slave from White Sulphur Springs to Harlem Renaissance fame. From the little-known Robyn Adair to the ever-popular Michelle Williams, author Brian D’Ambrosio marks Big Sky Country’s long-standing connections with America’s performing arts.
Saturday, September 21, 1:30 p.m.
2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution after thirty-six states ratified it into law. To celebrate this important milestone, Oklahoma Marilyn Artus is traveling the path of ratification and is collaborating with a female artist in all thirty-six states; the artist representing Montana is Jane Waggoner Deschner of Billings. Each artist has created a stripe that Marilyn will stitch together onsite in that state’s capital city. The result will be a new flag sewn as a thank you and love letter to the states that gave women the right to vote. For more information on the Her Flag project, visit https://www.herflag.com/.
Thursday–Saturday, September 26–28, Delta Colonial Hotel
46th Annual Montana History Conference: Keeping Up with the Past!
Fifty years ago, American astronauts walked on the moon and music lovers gathered at Woodstock. The Montana Historical Society will commemorate both of these anniversaries and explore many other topics in Montana History at its 46th Annual Montana History Conference, held in Helena at the Delta Colonial Hotel, September 26–28.
In recognition of such historic milestones as the Apollo 11 moon landing and Woodstock music festival, the conference will kick off with a 1969-themed reception. Participants are encouraged to don their favorite 1960s apparel for a chance to win a “best outfit” prize, while enjoying refreshments, conversation, and “Flashback: Montana 1969,” a special slideshow created by MHS Historian Christine Brown. So, dust off your bell bottoms and love beads, let your hair down, and come party like it’s 1969!
Conference sessions will cover a wide variety of topics ranging from prostitutes and cannibalism on the frontier to railroad tourism, historic photography, and the role of Cheyenne and Lakota women at the Little Bighorn. Famed western photographer Barbara Van Cleve will share her photographic journey, while Northern Arizona University professors Brant and Dayle Hardy Short will share their insight into retellings of 1949’s tragic Mann Gulch fire. And, for those who like their history to be a little more entertaining, the past will come alive in performances by Mary Jane Bradbury as Nancy Russell and Neil Lewing in a musical salute to the US Forest Service, national parks, and the timber industry.
Pre-conference workshops will offer special instruction for educators and archivists, while this year’s ever-popular Made in Montana Tour will focus on Helena’s art heritage. Post-conference field trips include a trip through Helena’s medical history led by Dr. Ellen Baumler and a self-guided tour of some of the Helena Valley’s most spectacular rural historic sites offered by the Montana Preservation Alliance.
For more information on conference registration—including the full conference schedule—visit the Montana Historical Society website at: http://mhs.mt.gov/education/ConferencesWorkshops
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