Montana Historical Society

Big Sky ~ Big History

Public Programs and Events

The Montana Historical Society hosts public programs on a wide variety of topics relating to the Treasure State’s history and culture. Most programs take place on Thursday afternoons at 4:30 p.m. (excluding holidays and a summer break). The Friends of the Montana Historical Society sponsor public programs the third Wednesday of each month, September through April (excluding November and December) at 12:00 p.m, and the October 2022 Lecture Series. Every fall the Society holds its annual Montana History Conference. Special lectures, exhibit openings, curator tours, and family programs also enliven the year.

Can’t make it? Watch the livestream or find the archived recording on the MHS YouTube Channel as well as a variety of great presentations.

October 2022

  • Thursday, October 6, 4:30 p.m.
    Montana’s Visionary Mayor, Willard E. Fraser
    Talk and book signing with Lou Mandler

    A political gadfly, a raconteur of the first order, and an indefatigable environmentalist before the term became fashionable, Willard E. Fraser served four terms as the progressive and controversial mayor of Billings during the turbulent 1960s. In Montana's Visionary Mayor, author Lou Mandler explores how Fraser’s vision and impact reached far beyond the borders of the Magic City. Refreshments to celebrate the launch of this new MTHS Press book will follow the talk.

  • Saturday, October 8, 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
    Pop-up Exhibit: Featuring Collections from Community Guests
    Second Saturday (free admission) MTHS Lobby

    Community members from Helena and the surrounding areas will be showcasing their private collections at this Second Saturday Pop-up Exhibit. Collections will include CMR: Charlie Russell on paper, historic M&M collector items, and patriotic memorabilia.

  • Thursday, October 13, 4:30 p.m.
    Montana State’s Golden Bobcats: 1929
    Talk and book signing with Paul R. Wylie

    Ashworth “Cat” Thompson and brothers Frank and Orland Ward didn’t know what to expect when they left southern Utah in the Fall of 1926. They arrived in Bozeman to play on the Montana State College basketball team under charismatic coach and fellow Utah native Ott Romney and Assistant Coach Schubert Dyche. Teamed with Montana products Brick Breeden and Max Worthington the following season, the core formed one of the best teams in the country. Despite Romney returning to Provo at the end of 1928, the Bobcats persevered in 1929 under Schubert to win the consensus college national basketball championship, with Cat and Frank Ward earning All-American honors. Join Paul Wylie as he recounts the on and off court challenges and triumphs of the Bobcat’s Golden Team.

  • Thursday, October 20, 4:30 p.m.
    The Middle Kingdom under the Big Sky
    Talk and book signing with Mark Johnson
    (In conjunction with a Community Read hosted by the Lewis and Clark Library)

    In 1870, Chinese residents made up more than 20 percent of Helena’s population. But this population, so crucial to Montana’s history, remains underrepresented in historical accounts. Using documents left by Chinese pioneers and preserved through the efforts of the Montana Historical Society, The Middle Kingdom under the Big Sky recovers stories of Montana’s Chinese community members in their own words. Join Mark Johnson as he examines the experiences of Chinese residents of Helena: the pressures they faced, how they advocated for their rights, and how they fought to keep their culture alive in an often-hostile environment.

  • Thursday, October 27, 4:30 p.m.
    The Making of the Capitol Video
    Presentation with Ari Laskin

    Montana’s capitol, designed at the end of the 19th century, was intended to be the “people’s house,” uniting diverse interests across what was once just a territory to form the 41st state of the union. But does it continue to live up to those principles today? Does it still speak to all Montanans? Student film makers recently explored these issues, creating the documentary film The People’s House. Join Ari Laskin who oversaw that project, engaged with both the past and present of the state capitol in order to answer the question: who’s in and who’s out at the people’s house?

See a listing of all Montana Historical Society public programs and events for October 2022 here.

Friends of the Society Lecture Series

The Friends of the Montana Historical Society sponsor an annual lecture series as their primary annual fundraiser. Programs for the October 2022 Lecture Series are held on Wednesdays at noon in the MTHS lobby. Lectures are $5.00 each. Brown-bag lunches welcome. Click here for a list of speakers.

The Montana Historical Society's Research Center offers a variety of Programs on an ongoing basis. Contact them at

To arrange speakers for your group or organization, or other questions regarding public programs, contact Deb Mitchell at (406) 444-4789 or

Sign up to learn about upcoming programs.