“20/20 Vision: Looking Clearly at the Past”

At a time when people are feeling uncertain about the present, it’s important to remember that the past has much to teach us.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has precluded travel and large-scale gatherings, the Montana Historical Society’s 47th state history conference will be held online during a two-month period. The exciting programs range from a presentation on the 1779-1784 smallpox pandemic to a behind-the-scenes tour of our collection. 

This free conference is supported by funding from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation. 

Much of the program will be posted online for later viewing and Zoom links to all sessions will be posted on our website before the virtual conference beings. Visit mhs.mt.gov/education/ConferencesWorkshops for links and additional information.

The lineup originally planned for the 2020 conference has been rescheduled for Sept. 23-25, 2021, at the Copper King Conference Center in Butte.

“Butte is just too unique of a place to capture virtually,” MHS director Bruce Whittenberg noted. “So, we will wait until we can gather in person to present the lineup we had originally planned for the Mining City this fall. Hopefully, all our speakers will still be able to join us, and we will attract more attendees than ever next year.”

Conference sessions this year include:

  • Thursday, Sept. 3 at 6:30 p.m. “Good Beer Here: An Interactive Exhibit Tour” followed by “Montana History Pub Trivia Contest” at 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, Sept. 10 at 4 p.m. “Making Your Mark: 145 Years of Recording Montana Brands” followed by “Picturing Political Power: Images in the Women’s Suffrage Movement” at 6:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 12 at 1:30 p.m. “A Wild Land Ethic: The History of Wilderness in Montana”
  • Thursday, Sept. 17 at 6:30 p.m. “Shakespeare in Montana”
  • Thursday, Sept. 24 at 6:30 p.m. “The Great Smallpox Pandemic of 177901784” 
  • Saturday, Sept. 26 at 10:30 a.m. “Appropriate, Curious and Rare: Treasures from the Collection”
  • Tuesday, Oct. 13 and 20 at 1 p.m. “Collections Care: When Disaster Strikes, Plan to Strike Back”
  • This year’s educators’ workshops include two programs:
  • Friday, Aug. 7 4 at p.m.: “Native Knowledge 360 Degrees and Montana Essential Understandings: More Complete Narratives About Native Americans” with Colleen Call Smith of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian
  • Friday, Aug. 14 at 4 p.m.: “Historical Thinking and Civic Education” with Sam Wineburg of Stanford University

For more information, contact Eve Byron, public information officer, at eve.byron@mt.gov or 406/444-6843.

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