Montana Historical Society

Big Sky ~ Big History

Museum and research center closed for renovations. For more info, call (406) 444-2694.

Montana 250th Commission

July 4, 2026, will mark the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America. This occasion represents a unique opportunity to engage with our nation’s history, including the millennia of Indigenous history prior to the founding of the United States, and to reflect upon how this knowledge of our country’s past can build a stronger future.

The U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission was established by Congress in 2016 to orchestrate nationwide activities in recognition of the 250th anniversary. Many state governments across the country have created their own commissions to implement commemorations on a local level, adapting initiatives to the distinct historic contexts of their states.

Accordingly, the 2023 Montana Legislature passed House Bill 0377, establishing the Montana 250th Commission to coordinate statewide efforts to commemorate the United States Semiquincentennial. The objectives of this commission are to promote civic engagement and increase public awareness of United States and Montana government and history, including the history of Tribal nations. The eleven-member commission will work with partners to:

  • Increase participation in the United States civics test, as well as youth proficiency in United States and Montana government and history and in the distinct and unique heritage of American Indians through Indian Education for All (IEFA);
  • Recognize schools for outstanding achievement in civics and proficiency in history, government, and IEFA;
  • Plan, coordinate, and implement an overall program to build public awareness of and foster public participation in celebrating and commemorating the 250th anniversary of the independence and founding of the United States;
  • Draw attention to the achievements, honors, innovations, and significance of the people in this state and recommend ways for this state to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the independence and founding of the United States;
  • Recognize the vibrant Indigenous cultures living in this place in 1776;
  • Emphasize the service and sacrifices of veterans who have secured and preserved American independence and freedom;
  • And celebrate and commemorate with events and activities throughout this state.

Commission Members:

The following eleven commission members were appointed per the stipulations of the enacting legislation:

Emily Arendt, Billings
Christopher Averill, East Helena
Marietta Croft, Colstrip
Jane Lee Hamman, Clancy
Mike Jetty, Helena
Molly Kruckenberg, Helena
Deena Mansour, Missoula
Shannon O’Brien, Missoula
Linda Reksten, Polson
Hal Stearns, Missoula
Molly Stockdale, Lolo


The Montana 250th Commission will meet according to the schedule it determines most appropriate to carry out its responsibilities. Meetings of the commission are subject to Montana’s open meeting and public participation laws. The schedule and location of upcoming meetings will be posted on this webpage.