Montana Historical Society

Big Sky ~ Big History

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

Resources for Educators

Explore all of our resources below, organized by subject, or explore select resources organized by skill level: Elementary, Middle School, and High School.

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Professional Development  Earn OPI Renewal Units, discover exciting educational resources, and learn new ideas for engaging students by taking one or more of our self-paced online interactive modules or by attending one of our educator workshops. 

Montana: A History of Our Home Companion Website  Designed for grades fourth through sixth, this curriculum includes a student textbook and hands-on, interactive lesson plans. It contains six distinct, interdisciplinary units that focus on Montana geography, government, and history from 12,500 years ago to the present. Find the online teachers guide here

Montana: Stories of the Land Companion Website  Discover over twelve thousand years of Montana history. If you are working on a particular chapter at school, visit that chapter page for copies of the worksheets and interesting related links. You can also use the search function to find information about particular topics. Or you can read the online version of the book, Montana: Stories of the Land, cover to cover, since all twenty-two chapters have been posted as low-resolution pdf files. (Designed for use in middle school, but adaptable to elementary and high school: Lexile Level 1080L). Aligned to Montana Content Standards and the Essential Understandings, this comprehensive curriculum traces Montana history over the last twelve thousand years, and offers supporting lesson plans, worksheets, tests, and more. 

Hands-On History Footlockers  (Designed for grade 4 but used by teachers kindergarten through twelfth grade) Bring reproductions of clothing, tools, everyday objects, maps, photographs, documents to your classroom. User Guides with lesson plans and standards alignment accompany each footlocker.

Indian Education for All Lesson Plans  The Montana Historical Society has produced a number of lesson plans to help your students grasp the Essential Understandings regarding Montana Indians while learning more about specific Montana history topics.

Integrating Art and History  Discover visual art lesson plans on Charlie Russell, Montana's Cowboy Artist; Plains Indian pictographic art; and Plateau Indian beaded bags. Also discover a performing arts lesson plan, "Readers Theater: Letters Home from Montanans at War."

Teaching with Primary Sources  Discover the many lesson plans the Montana Historical Society has created that provide students an opportunity to analyze primary source material, including artwork, photographs, letters, diary entries, historic newspapers, and more.

Digital Projects Discover a myriad of digitized collections (including historical photographs, newspapers, and C. M. Russell art) and online exhibits, such as Montana and the Great WarAppropriate, Curious, & Rare: Montana History Object by Object, and Montana's African American Heritage Resources. Many of these digital projects have associated lesson plans.

Media and Discussion Guides  Use videos and PowerPoints produced by or with assistance from the Montana Historical Society to enrich your Montana history content. Videos include Montana Mosaic: 20th Century People and Events and Hidden Stories, Montana’s Black Past. Scripted PowerPoints cover topics from the impact of railroads to the history of the Little Shell.

Crossing Disciplines Find lesson plans that ask students to apply math skills to better understand the past or that teach both history and science, or history and art, or history and creative writing. Because almost all of our lessons align to both Montana Social Studies and English Language Art Standards, they are all interdisciplinary, but these lessons are particularly noteworthy for crossing disciplinary boundaries.

Teaching with Biographies  Find links to online biographies as well as lesson plans that ask students to investigate remarkable Montanans. 

Women's History Resources and Lesson Plans Discover an abundance of material on Montana's women's history, including fascinating stories, intriguing photographs, and detailed lesson plans.

Civics and Geography Looking for a lesson that explains the electoral process, provides an example of how laws affect individuals' lives, or introduces your students to Montana geography while improving their map reading skills? Find them here.  

National History Day National History Day offers grade 6-12 students an opportunity to become working historians while motivating them through exciting competitions and the opportunity to research topics of their own choosing. 

Mining History Lesson Plans and Resources  Discover a wide array of resources for studying mining history, including a study guide to accompany the reminiscence, Girl from the Gulches: The Story of Mary Ronan, and a lesson plan to help students explore historic digitized newspapers.

Montana The Magazine of Western History Curriculum Guides (Designed for high school). Montana The Magazine of Western History has made all of the articles it published relating to women's history available for free download as part of the Montana Historical Society's Women's History Matters project. Additionally, all of the articles it has published that relate to World War I are available for free download as part of the Montana and the Great War project. It has also put several theme issues on-line along with ideas using the articles. These interdisciplinary lessons include full-text of the articles included in that issue along with discussion questions and suggestions for supplemental activities. Guides are available for the following special issues:

Tours  Arrange to bring your students to Helena to experience the museum, capitol, and Original Governor's Mansion first hand.

Montana History Links  Looking to research a particular topic in Montana History? Montana History Links is a good place to start.