A Narrative History of the Montana Heritage Project

Geo-Portraits: Self and Community

Phil Leonardi

Corvallis High School


After preliminary research, freshmen at Corvallis High School discussed overarching patterns that might provide a focus for their year of work. They chose the “boom and bust” history of Montanaís history, looking for evidence of how Corvallis both fit and didnít fit into that pattern and what it meant for local people. Related questions included “How did people adapt or change?” And “What was needed to survive?” To practice placing historical details into larger patterns, each student created a “geo-portrait” of photographs from his or her past that illustrated the five themes of geography: location, place, environmental interactions, movement, and region.

They then considered what a geo-portrait for the Corvallis Community might include. They selected historical photographs to illustrate the five themes as applied to Corvallis. Using a data base of digital images compiled by previous Heritage Project classes, each student selected one historical image and presented it to the class, explaining how it fit into the five themes. The image was then transferred to fabric, and all the images were arranged in a pattern for the quilt. The finished quilt hangs in the high school library.

To print a final report for the year-end binder, click here.
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