Montana Historical Society

Big Sky ~ Big History

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

Montana: Stories of the Land

Companion Website and Online Teacher's Guide

Montana History Links

Women's History Matters Created by the Montana Historical Society as part of a commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of women's suffrage in Montana, Women's History Matters promotes an increased appreciation and understanding of the role of women in the Treasure State's past. The site's homepage features twice-weekly blog posts that feature a wide range of Montana women's stories and topics, from women bootleggers and the Women's Christian Temperance Union to early Virginia City business woman Sarah Bickford and twentieth-century Blackfeet banker Elouise Cobell. The site also offers research bibliographies; PDFs of Montana The Magazine of Western History articles to download and read; educator resources, including lesson plans; Information on selected historic places; resources specifically related to the suffrage campaign, including links to newspaper articles published in the Montana press debating the issue in 1914.

The Montana The Magazine of Western History Index offers the perfect place to begin in-depth research into almost any Montana history topic. Published by the Montana Historical Society since 1951, Montana The Magazine of Western History contains articles that showcase the people, places, and events that shaped the state and the western region. Many school libraries and most Montana public libraries have extensive runs of the magazine, making it an ideal source for students doing detailed research.

Montana Biographies Here are links to online biographies of 48 Montanans, from Assinniboine/Gros Ventre educator and poet Minerva Allen. Businesswoman Sarah Bickford, copper king Marcus Daly, wilderness advocate Bob Marshall, physician Caroline McGill, decorated World War II veteran George Oiye and bronc rider Alice Orr to nun and advocate Sister Providencia Tolan, politician Burton K. Wheeler, and lawyer and Crow tribal chairman Robert Yellowtail. Designed particularly for use by 4th grade students for biography projects, each subject has links to two sources to facilitate meeting CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.9: "Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably."

Chronicling America is a national newspaper digitization project, sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. Dozens of Montana newspapers have been digitized. A statewide project, Montana Newspapers, has digitized even more titles. Find out which titles are available through both sites here.
The Montana History WIKI is a collection of information to help guide students to the resources available through the Montana Historical Society Research Center. It is designed to assist researchers in finding the best resource for their projects or topics. The WIKI also contains collaborative projects designed to meet the needs of particular groups.

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. At this site you'll find information on many noteworthy Montanans - which makes it a useful resource for biography projects.

Montana and the Great War was created to commemorate the centennial of the U.S. entry into World War I. This site provides resources to investigate the war’s transformative and complicated legacy in our home state, including two lesson plans, story maps, digitized articles, and a World War I scavenger hunt.

Appropriate, Curious, & Rare: Montana History Object by Object is an online exhibit from the Montana Historical Society that tells the story of Montana history through artifacts from the Society’s vast collections.

The Montana History Portal provides access to digital collections relating to Montana's cultural heritage and government. Many of these items are digitized copies of historic material; some items are contemporary. The Project is growing rapidly as its managers add new material that documents the Montana experience.  

The Montana African American Heritage Resources Project provides a gateway to exploring the Montana Historical Society's rich collections documenting this understudied aspect of our state's history.

The Montana Census and Economic Information Center offers links to current and economic data, including many maps.

The Montana Historical Society's hand's-on footlockers are intended for use in elementary, middle, and high school classes. They contain reproduction artifacts, photographs, cassette tapes or videos, clothing, and tools related to the footlocker topic. Footlocker User Guides are posted online as Pdf documents. The guides contain historical narratives, a bibliography, information on how the footlocker aligns with Montana Content Standards for Social Studies, and lesson plans. Many of these lesson plans can be used without actually having to order the footlocker although some are linked to the footlocker materials. While teachers may find the lesson plans particularly helpful, students will most appreciate the topical historical narratives and the biographies of "Amazing Montanans" included in each guide.

Montana Mosaic: Twentieth-Century People and Events explores twentieth-century Montana through twelve brief films, posted as streaming video. The videos are also available on a DVD, which was donated to every public school library in the state of Montana.

The Montana History Portal includes links to early Montana "subscription" histories as well as other material digitized from the collection of the University of Montana's library. The subscription histories are good starting points for researching prominent Montanans, who paid to have their biographies included in these volumes. There are notable gaps since not every prominent Montanan chose to participate - and those who did only provided the most flattering information about themselves, so use with care. is a collaborative project of the Office of Public Instruction and the University of Montana's Regional Learning Project.  The digital archive contains short video clips of tribal cultural and historical experts speaking on a variety of topics. Also available on the site are learning activities.

Mountain West News aggregates articles from newspapers across the West to provide a daily snapshot of news and opinion from the Rocky Mountain region, giving the changing mountain West a tool to understand itself and a platform for the exchange of ideas.

The Indian Education Division of the Montana Office of Public Instruction has IEFA lesson plans for all grade levels.

The Montana State Library is digitizing and placing online its entire print collection of approximately 55,000 state publications dating from 1874. You can find them, and much more, by using the advance search function at the Digital Archives.

Elk in front of a fire
Elk in Bitterroot River, photo by John McColgan
Lewis and Clark
Detail, Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804, Dean Cornwell, Montana Historical Society Museum
Red Cloud
Red Cloud, Montana Historical Society Photo Archives 954-795
Gathering painting
Detail, Gathering, John Potter, Montana Historical Society Museum