Montana Historical Society History, Goals, and Authorizations
- 1865 - Created in Virginia City by Montana's First Territorial Legislature, making it the oldest of its kind west of Mississippi.
- 1874 - Moved to Helena.
- 1891 - Made a state agency by the state legislature.
- 1902 - Moved into the basement of the newly constructed Capitol Building.
- 1949 - Board of Trustees expanded; agency redefined by the legislature to current format with most current duties; plans for Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building to serve as home for Society begun.
- 1951 - K. Ross Toole hired as first official director.
- 1953 - Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building dedicated.
- 1963 - Fine arts responsibilities added to the Society's mandate by the legislature.
- 1977 - Historic Preservation Office transferred to the Society from Fish and Game Department.
- 1995 - After leading the charge to save historic Virginia and Nevada Cities, Society given oversight of Montana Heritage Commission and Virginia and Nevada City assets by the legislature.
- 1996 - Given oversight of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission by the legislature.
- 2003 - Oversight of Montana Heritage Commission and Virginia and Nevada City assets transferred from the Society to the Department of Commerce by the legislature.
- 2007 - Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission Sunseted
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES:
- To provide overall direction and management for the society to achieve the goals and statutory responsibilities. The management of the society includes supervising five programs of the society.
- To serve as a spokesperson and fundraiser for the agency.
- To maintain fiscal management and personnel management of the society.
- To provide overall security for collections of the society. Security includes maintenance of the intrusion security system, passive observation of visitors, crowd control etc.
- To provide timely and pertinent information on policies, programs and issues relevant to the operation of the Montana Historical Society.
- To provide encouragement and technical assistance to all community museum, archives and preservation efforts.
- To restructure the membership program to make membership in the Society more attractive so that the program will increase at a dramatic rate.
- To put the Montana Post back into print to maintain contact with our membership and to keep them informed of our efforts and needs in protecting, preserving, and presenting the best in Montana's storied history.
- To plan and oversee the annual state history conference.
RESEARCH CENTER PROGRAM AUTHORIZATIONS:
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES:
The Montana Historical Society Research Center is composed of a Library, Archives, and Photograph Archives. The Archives section is also designated as the official state archives for the state of Montana. The Research Center is committed to collecting, preserving, and providing access to published and unpublished materials that document and promote the understanding of Montana's past.
The Research Center has five primary goals and objectives:
- To develop and improve the nation's most comprehensive collection of research materials related to the history of Montana and the West.
- To assist the public in the use and enjoyment of the collections by providing courteous, timely and accurate reference assistance to researchers of all types; by providing reproductions of materials in the collections; and by providing select materials to remote users via interlibrary loan.
- To make the collections accessible and useful to the public through their proper and timely accessioning and processing, the production of appropriate catalogs, inventories and other finding aids; and by participation in digital catalogs and online databases.
- To act as the official archives for the state of Montana, thereby preserving and providing access to the permanent records of state and local government in Montana.
- To preserve the collections for the use and enjoyment of future generations through proper processing, handling, storage, security, environmental controls, and knowledgeable application of preservation technologies and methodologies.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES:
- To systematically develop and improve the museum's permanent collection through the acquisition of art and artifacts appropriate to the mission of the Society, i.e., items that pertain to the history and culture of Montana and the geographic region.
- To preserve the museum collections for the use and enjoyment of future generations through the maintenance and improvement of clean, safe and controlled environments; the adherence to museum standards of collections care; the improvement of collections management, specifically by automating permanent records; regular maintenance of the historic house museum we administer, i.e. the Original Governor's Mansion; and the expansion of our commitment to artifact conservation.
- To protect and preserve the permanent artwork in the State Capitol, and within the Capitol Complex, by inspecting, maintaining, and arranging for conservation of the art, in addition to the care and preservation of art items removed from the Capitol.
- To provide quality educational exhibits and programming for our statewide and national audiences at Montana's Museum, the Original Governor's Mansion and the State Capitol through: maintenance and upgrading of permanent exhibits; the development of at least one major temporary exhibit per year; the development of occasional traveling exhibits for statewide distribution; the continued restoration of the historic house museum we administer, i.e. the Original Governor's Mansion; and the planning and implementation of educational programming to reach as many segments of our audience and the largest number of people as possible with a variety of activities, such as guided and self-guided tours, lectures, workshops, school programs, conferences, etc. During FY06 Montana's Museum had 38,776 visitors, not only from all over the United States and the world, including individuals, adult tours, school tours, etc. There were 1,646 visitors to the Original Governor's Mansion; 11,273 people toured the State Capitol; and 43,649 people attended public programs or were provided outreach services.
- To provide accurate information on historical and technical subjects to individuals, representatives of cultural organizations, governmental agencies, the educational community and others through the timely response to inquiries about the museum collections; assistance to scholars and students working on museum related topics; the maintenance and distribution of photographs of museum collections; technical assistance provided to other museums and cultural institutions; and the presentation of programs related to material culture and technical topics to interested groups throughout the state.
- To administer and expand the Volunteer Program of the Society. Over 134 volunteers assist paid staff in providing interpretation of Montana history, art and culture through tours, school services, conferences, workshops and other public events; providing reference information to patrons; and assisting with collections care and management to help preserve Montana's material culture.
22-3-107(15), MCA - Promote the study of Montana history by lectures and publications
22-3-111, MCA - Financing of Society
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES:
- To continue publication of Montana The Magazine of Western History, the state's award-winning quarterly history journal, the only one of its kind, which is distributed throughout Montana, in all 50 states, and to 17 foreign countries.
- To distribute each year 50,000 copies of the magazine, including more than 1,000 copies to Montana schools and libraries and more than 1,000 copies to out of state schools and libraries; to review almost 200 prospective manuscripts; and edit and publish some 100 articles on Montana and the West.
- To continue operation of the Montana Historical Society Press, the state's only scholarly book publishing house, which distributes some 10,000 copies of books on Montana history and literature each year and which has won awards for quality and significance of its projects.
- To review 10 book-length manuscripts and proposals and edit and produce 3 to 4 books each year.
HISTORIC SITES PRESERVATION AUTHORIZATIONS:
22-3-401 through 22-3-442, MCA - MT Antiquities Authority and Preservation Office Duties
- 16 U.S.C. 470 - National Historic Preservation Act: Outlines actions required to receive federal preservation funds and participate in National Register programs
- 26 U.S.C. 48(g) - Internal Revenue Code that outlines procedures for certified preservation rehabilitation
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES:
- To inspire and help Montanans to preserve sites and buildings significant to an understanding of Montana's prehistoric and historic past through research, recordation, education, and recognition. Specifically, to:
- Assist property owners in the evaluation and the nomination of properties (individual and contributors to districts) to the National Register of Historic Places;
- Assist and secure funding, as available, for local community, county, or historical or archaeological organization projects for systematic survey and research of Montana neighborhoods, geographic regions, or types of properties.
- Maintain and add to the statewide inventory of locations of survey and of known and recorded historic and archaeological properties in Montana (State Antiquities Database).
- To provide owners of significant historic and prehistoric properties (both public and private) with detailed technical preservation expertise, information, and user-friendly access to available programs and other resources, especially state and federal incentives targeted for historic preservation. Specifically, to:
- Answer letter, phone, and personal requests with information and presentations, including public education programs, written materials and guidance, staff evaluation and comments, site and survey report file information, and participation in workshops and training sessions.
- Actively assist historic buildings owners to use federal and state historic preservation income tax credits for substantial rehabilitation projects.
- Secure, award, and administer federal funds designated for local Montana governments with preservation commissions and ordinances that participate in the federal Certified Local Government (CLG) program.
- When such federal funds are authorized and appropriated by Congress, secure, award, and administer a competitive, rehabilitation ("brick-and-mortar") re-grant program for owners of properties listed in the National Register.
- To minimize inadvertent and unnecessary harm to Montana's significant historic and prehistoric buildings and sites by reviewing and providing data and comments to federal and state agencies on their proposed projects, decisions, and licenses. Specifically, to:
- Respond in a timely manner to requests for comments and concurrence from federal and state agencies on historic significance and values, effects of projects, anticipated likelihood of site existence, and the nature of study needed to avoid adverse impacts.
- Work cooperatively with agencies, organizations, and applicants to develop efficient and effective means for compliance with state and federal preservation law and regulations.
- To develop and implement the goals and objectives of the approved five-year statewide Historic Preservation Plan (HPP). Specifically, for 2013-2017, to:
SITES AND SIGNS:
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES:
- Installation or maintenance of roadside historical signs and historic sites.
- To provide National Register signs to persons, organizations and agencies that own properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, historical markers for the Old Forts Trail and other markers for designated Montana Heritage properties, erected for the education of the visiting public are included.
- To maintain specific state owned Montana historic sites.
- To further public appreciation of Montana's heritage places through educational materials including public programs and publications.