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The proposed Montana Heritage Center

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

Montana History in 9 More Easy Lessons
Join Montana Historical Society (MHS) staff members and other subject matter experts in a two-month exploration of the last twelve thousand years of Montana history. Every Wednesday, 3:30-4:30, between April 3, 2019 and May 29, 2019, at MHS, a presenter will discuss a major theme of Montana history. Individually, these programs will offer compelling discussions of specific topics relating to Montana’s past; together they will provide a big-picture overview of the state’s rich and fascinating history. Come for one—or come for all. OPI Renewal Credits will be available and presentations will be live-streamed for those who can’t make it in person. For more information call 444-4741 or email klambert@mt.gov.

Wednesday, April 3, 3:30 p.m., Montana History in 9 More Easy Lessons
Pre-contact Trade This presentation will explore the Pre-contact American trade network, with emphasis on Great Plains and Intermountain goods and participation. Discover where goods that originated in Montana ended up, what goods were imported into the region, and the important role that tribes from this region played within the larger trade system. About the speaker: Jessica Bush is the State Historic Preservation Office Review and Compliance Officer for the Montana Historical Society. She received her Master’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Montana, where her primary area of interest was pre-contact plains archaeology. 

Thursday, April 4, 6:00 p.m. Revisiting Montana 1889—Metis Discussion Group
Join us for the next gathering of the Facebook Group, Revisiting Montana 1889: A Book Group. Our topic for the evening will be the M├ętis in Montana. Panelists Al Wiseman—Metis cultural leader—and Nicholas Vrooman—author of The Whole Country was... 'One Robe': The Little Shell Tribe’s America—will share their experiences and insights. Ken Egan, author of the book, Montana 1889: Indians, Cowboys, and Miners in the Year of Statehood, and host of the Facebook Group, will facilitate the conversation. Come a few minutes early to submit your questions and to grab a Michif snack. Everyone is welcome—you don’t need to be a member of the Facebook group. If you are unable to join us on-site, you can watch live on YouTube or Facebook Live.

Wednesday, April 10, 3:30 p.m., Montana History in 9 More Easy Lessons
Montana's Early Fur Trade in the Wake of Lewis and Clark Reports of abundant fur-bearing mammals in the Rocky Mountains traveled quickly after the return of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to St. Louis in 1806. As a result, in 1807 Manuel Lisa established Montana’s first trading post at the confluence of the Yellowstone and Bighorn rivers. Soon, the lure of Montana's beaver led to a veritable flood of traders and trappers moving into the upper Missouri and northern Rockies. About the speaker: Jim Hardee has published numerous articles and books on the Rocky Mountain fur trade, most recently Hope Maintains Her Throne: The Western Expeditions of Nathaniel J. Wyeth, 1834–36. For ten years, he served as editor of the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal, published by the Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale, Wyoming. Hardee acted as historical and technical advisor to the History Channel’s program on fur trader Jedediah Smith and was featured in that program as well as several other documentaries about the fur trade.

Saturday, April 13, 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, April 13, 1:30 p.m., A Racehorse Named Spokane: Montana’s Derby Champion
Montana's biggest news story of 1889 was not statehood. It was the Kentucky Derby triumph of a Montana-raised Thoroughbred horse named Spokane. Foaled in Twin Bridges, subject of a 19th-century media feeding frenzy at the time of his win, surviving tragedy, and ending in mystery, the chestnut colt has captivated generations of Montanans.  Horsewoman, author, and Helena attorney Brenda Wahler combs through the myths and legends to uncover the true story of Montana's only Kentucky Derby winner. Wahler’s forthcoming book, Montana Horse Racing: A History, will be published this by The History Press this July. 

Wednesday, April 17, 3:30 p.m., Montana History in 9 More Easy Lessons
The Rise and Fall of Open Range Cattle Raising on the Montana Plains. The Montana cattle industry began in the 1850s with the arrival of high grade cattle driven north from the Emigrant Road in what is now Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah. Texas longhorns and other lesser known types of cattle arrived next, leading to the open range boom of the 1880s and the devastating consequences of the Hard Winter of 1886–87. About the speaker: Vic Reiman, who recently retired from the Montana Historical Society, has done extensive research on firearms in the Society’s collection. He is the author of the article “‘Whoa, Blue, Whoa!’: Cowpuncher Teddy Blue Abbott, We Pointed Them North, and Montana’s Open-Range Era,” published in Montana The Magazine of Western History.

Thursday, April 18, 6:30 p.m. Political Hell-Raiser
Join us for a presentation and book-signing by Marc C. Johnson, author of Political Hell-Raiser. The Life and Times of Senator Burton K. Wheeler of Montana. Wheeler may have been the most powerful politician Montana ever produced, and he was one of the most influential—and controversial—members of the United States Senate during three of the most eventful decades in American history. A New Deal Democrat and lifelong opponent of concentrated power—whether economic, military, or executive—he consistently acted with a righteous personal and political independence that has all but disappeared from the public sphere. Recently published by the University of Oklahoma Press, Political Hell-Raiser is the first book to tell the full story of Wheeler, a genuine maverick whose successes and failures were woven into the political fabric of twentieth-century America.

Wednesday, April 24, 3:30 p.m., Montana History in 9 More Easy Lessons
Do Treaties Matter? From 1777 to 1871, US relations with individual American Indian nations were conducted through treaty negotiations. These contracts between nations created unique sets of rights for the benefit of each of the treaty-making tribes and the US government. Mike Jetty will provide a basic overview of treaty history and show how they are still being interpreted today. About the speaker: Mike Jetty is an enrolled member of the Spirit Lake Dakota Nation and a Turtle Mountain Chippewa descendant, who currently works at the Montana Office of Public Instruction as an Indian Education Specialist. Jetty has taught in classrooms at both the K-12 and university levels and, since 2004, he has provided over 200 workshops on teaching Indian history and culture for over 4,000 educators.

Saturdays in April, every hour on the hour beginning at 10:00 a.m.
We will be showing historic films from the MHS film archives.
Note: movies will not be shown when other programs are scheduled in the auditorium.

  • Saturday, April 6, The Sun Gave Man the Power and Anaconda Copper Mining Company—Zinc Department
  • Saturday, April 13, Montana Mining Industry and A World Apart: Montana’s Hutterites
  • Saturday, April 20, The Wind Drinkers and Interesting People in Montana: Al Hibbard
  • Saturday, April 27, Explore the Old West Trail Country and Anaconda Copper Mining Company —Copper Refineries

Sign up to learn about upcoming programs.

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(406) 444-2694
(406) 444-2696 fax
P.O. Box 201201
225 N. Roberts
Helena, MT 59620

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