Montana Historical Society

Big Sky ~ Big History

The Gallery of Outstanding Montanans

The Gallery of Outstanding Montanans was established by the State Legislature in 1979 to pay homage to citizens of the Treasure State who made contributions of state or national significance to their selected fields of endeavor while epitomizing the unique spirit and character that defines Montana. Inductees into Montana’s hall of fame are rotated into the gallery on a biennial basis; each is honored for an eight-year period. This program is managed by the Montana Historical Society. 

In 2016, the Montana Historical Society put out a statewide call for nominees and received nominations for thirty-nine exemplary individuals. In November 2016, a five-member selection committee chose ten honorees to be inducted over the next ten years.

The next selection round will be in 2026. If you would like to nominate someone before then, send the following information to Montana’s Museum, Attn: Gallery of Outstanding Montanans, P.O. Box 201201, Helena, MT 59620-1201:

Name of nominee, birth and death dates of nominee, Montana association (place of birth, place of residence, place of work etc.), field of endeavor, specific contributions and achievements, any supporting documentation or additional information, name and contact information for person submitting nomination, date nomination submitted.

Nominees must have been born, raised or lived a significant period of time in Montana. No living persons are eligible for nomination.


Current Honorees: 

Helen Piotopowaka Clarke, educator and Indian Rights Advocate (1848–1923)

Maurice Hilleman, vaccinologist (1919 - 2005)

Alma Smith Jacobs, librarian and activist (1916 - 1997)

John Gustave Link and Charles Sidney Haire, architects (1870–1954 and 1857–1925)

Joseph Medicine Crow, war chief, historian and mentor (1913–2016)

Fannie Sperry Steele, bucking horse champion and outfitter (1887–1983)

Mildred Walker, novelist (1905–1998)

James Welch, writer and storyteller (1940 - 2003)


Past Honorees:

Sarah Gammon Bickford, "Montana's first career woman" (1855-1931)

Arnold Bolle, educator and conservationist (1912 - 1994)

Merrill Gildea Burlingame, Montana educator, historian, and author (1901-1994)

Evelyn Cameron, photographer, diarist, and rancher (1868-1929)
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Mattie Bost Bell Castner, booster of community spirit (1848–1920)
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Charlo, Salish patriot (ca. 1830–1910)

John Louis Clarke, Cutapuis—“The Man Who Talks Not” (1881–1970)

Fanny Cory Cooney, Undaunted Montana Artist (1877–1972)

Gary Cooper, actor (1901–1961)
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Marcus Daly, entrepreneur (1841–1900)
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William Wylie Galt, community building (1854 - 1945)

Sam Gilluly, journalist (1908 - 1984)

Raymond Francis Gray, “Indomitable Advocate of Metis Rights” (1900–1961)

A. B. Guthrie, Jr., author (1901 - 1991)

Ella Knowles Haskell, “The Portia of the People” (1860–1911)

Maggie Smith Hathaway, social crusader (1867–1955)
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Norman J. "Jeff" Holter, “The Renaissance Scientist” (1914–1983)

Joseph Kinsey Howard, “Montana's Conscience” (1906–1951)

Richard Hugo, poet (1923–1982)
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Chet Huntley, journalist (1911–1974)
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Dorothy Marie Johnson, author (1905 - 1984)

Frank Bird Linderman, author (1869–1938)
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Mike Mansfield, statesman (1903–2001)
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Dr. Caroline M. McGill, “A Remarkable Life” (1879–1959)

D'Arcy McNickle, author, educator and Indian rights advocate (1904 - 1977)
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H.G. Merriam, author and educator (1883–1980)
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Lee Metcalf, statesman (1911 - 1978)

E.S. Paxson, artist (1852–1919)
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Marguerite K. Pfeifle, gemologist (1907–1981)
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Plenty Coups, statesman (c. 1848 - 1932)

Thomas C. Power, entrepreneur (1839–1923)
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Father Anthony Ravalli, S.J., missionary and physician (1812 - 1884)

Charles M. Russell, artist (1864–1926)
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Reno H. Sales, mining geologist (1876–1969)
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Granville Stuart, entrepreneur (1834–1918)
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K. Ross Toole, historian and educator (1920–1981)
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Harold Urey, nuclear chemist (1893–1981)
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William Van Orsdel, minister (1848–1919)
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Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail, health care and Native rights advocate (1903–1981)
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