Sixth Annual Montana Heritage Project
Youth Heritage Festival
March 29–30, 2004 • Helena, Montana
Librarian of Congress James Billington
speech • American Folklife Center Director Peggy Bulger speech •
Governor Judy Martz speech
Superintendent of Public Instruction Linda
McCulloch speech •
Helena Independent Record article
Students from around the state gathered
in Helena for the Youth Heritage Festival during the end of March. 130
students and their teachers spent two days talking about the work they've
done in their communities and being appreciated for that work.
They heard from people such as the Librarian of Congress
James H. Billington, the Director of the American Folklife Center of the
Library of Congress Peggy Bulger, Governor Judy Martz, Art Ortenberg, and
Superintendent of Public Instruction Linda McCulloch, how history is
created by everyone—not just the famous—and how important it is to collect
each person's story. The students and teachers were
thanked for the necessary work they're doing.
Billington (standing) tells the students, "History is not just made
by public figures. History, particularly in a democracy, is made in
some sense by everybody and its important that we collect their
memories, their experiences." Dr. Billington is flanked by (from
left) Brian Cockhill of the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg
Foundation; Kris Goss, K-12 Education Policy Advisor to Governor
Judy Martz; Peggy Bulger; Governor Judy Martz; Arnold Olsen,
Director of the Montana Historical Society; Liz Claiborne; and Art
The Festival began with a welcome from Heritage Project
Director Michael Umphrey, followed by thoughtful words from Peggy Bulger.
The group then traveled to the Capitol to set up displays of their
projects and several students remained on hand to explain the work they've
done to curious onlookers.
Then students presented their research projects to each
other. The audience members were attentive and appreciative as they
learned about such subjects as mining in Roundup, what Whitefish was like
100 years ago, how people in Corvallis made it through the Depression, and
how communities such as Townsend are pieced together much like a quilt.
Top: (From left) Andrew Alger from Roundup High School,
Kristin Kuhn from Bigfork High School, and Michael Umphrey listen as
Peggy Bulger tells the group, "Throughout these two days, people are
going to tell you that the work you're doing matters. Well, it really
does. It matters more than you know. I have to tell you that as the
director of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, I
see the living, breathing proof that the interviews you are doing, the
photographs you are taking, and the oral histories that you are
video-taping are used by scholars and researchers at the Library of
Congress and at the Montana Historical Society."
Left: World-renowned pianist Philip Aaberg talks to students about how growing up in the Hi-Line town of Chester, Montana
helped shape his music and his career.
Above: After setting up their display at the Capitol
Rotunda, these Ronan freshmen sit on the steps to "contemplate" what
Right: A group of Harlowton
students get a birds-eye view of of the displays set up on the first
floor of the Capitol. Photographer Paxton Wojtowick, also from
Harlowton, walked another flight of stairs to take this photo.
The displays that are set up in the Rotunda naturally invoke curiosity
among passersby. The man above reads what was done in White Sulphur
Springs. Corvallis' display shown at right, is always inviting—and
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