A Narrative History of the Montana Heritage Project



Creating a Local Archives

Tim Schaff
Dale Alger

Roundup High School

2000-01

Roundup High School has formed a partnership with the Musselshell Valley Historical Museum. Students in an elective Local Legacies class visited the museum’s archives, assessing the state of the current collection. Hundreds of photographs have been donated to the museum, which has not had the resources to organize them and properly store them. Students began organizing this collection, making duplicate prints, gathering historical information for captions, and scanning selected photos to establish an archives at the Roundup Community Library, which is a combined school and public library. Housing these materials at the library will increase public access to the materials, including maps, audio tapes of interviews, tape logs, historical essays, and duplicate negatives of historical photographs.

To gain an understanding of the broad framework of Montana history, students in read Montana High, Wide, and Handsome by Joseph Kinsey Howard and Montana: A History of Two Centuries by Michael Malone, Richard Roeder, and William Lang as well as excerpts from other texts. As they read, they assessed local impacts of the larger stories they read. For example, after learning of the flu epidemic of 1918, students visited the local cemetery and counted the number of people who died between October and March of that year in Roundup.

Students conducted research for a National Historic Register nomination for two houses, known as the “twin houses” locally, that have been important landmarks in the town’s social history.

They also conducted research for interpretive signs for the Park Trail, which will be a historical interpretive walking tour. Students have selected and photographed fourteen sites that might receive interpretive signs as part of that effort. This is an ongoing, multi-year project. They did research on a variety of topics, using oral interviews, newspaper archives, site visits, and county courthouse records. Research essays were completed on such topics as the harsh local implementation of Montana’s Alien and Sedition Act, the Ku Klux Klan in Roundup, the development of vigilantism from the 1860s to the present, the history of Fort Peck Dam, a local murder case, the story of early forest ranger Ray Greathouse, the local activities of the WPA during World War II, and biographies of several early residents.

To print a final report for the year-end binder, click here.
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© 2001 Montana Heritage Project
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