Every Wednesday in April and May, the Montana Historical Society in Helena is hosting a free lecture on a different part of Montana history. Over the two months, these lessons will cover roughly twelve thousand years of history. Of course, the historical record is pretty scarce for a lot of that time, so most of those twelve thousand years were covered in April. The last week in April is the beginning of basically the last century of Montana history, talking about Montana industrialism, including the Copper Kings, in the 1880s. The first week in May, they are tackling the thorny issue of the early years of the creation and reorganization of Montana’s Indian reservations. On May 9th, the focus shifts to Montana’s homesteading boom and bust in the 1910s and 1920s. Heavy on the bust, no doubt, because Montana was so hipster that we had a Great Depression before the Great Depression had a Great Depression. Then it’s Montana in the Cold War, a fascinating theme, given Montana’s strategic importance as a place-with-an-unusual-number-of-nukes, but one that often gets overlooked. Next in the over-looked history department is a discussion about the political forces that shaped the state between the 1960s and 1990s, and finally a reassessment of the the Indian Nations in twenty-first century Montana.
It is a remarkable line-up of really fascinating talks presented by some extraordinary researchers. But don’t worry if you can’t make it to Helena at 3:30 on Wednesdays in May. The lectures are going to be streamed and uploaded to YouTube, which is great, because it means that you can watch all of the April events as well. Check out the MHS website for more information.