A Narrative History of the Montana Heritage Project

How Does Our Past Affect Our Future?

Jim Hicks
Norma Glock
Jim Larson

Columbus High School


In order to identify the connections between the community’s past and its future, students began their research with three broad questions: How have blacksmith shops contributed to the economy of the area? How do the buildings of the past fit into the community of today? How have people who lived before affected our lives today? Students started by reading books and talking to people at the Museum of the Beartooths to find out the history of black smithing and how the tools were used. Students explored older buildings in the county and interviewed community members who knew their history, attempting to see how these buildings of the past fit into their present-day community. The students also visited the Stillwater County Courthouse, the County Library, and Museum of the Beartooths to search archives and other primary documents. After learning about the history of these aspects of their town, students also documented their contemporary community by taking pictures of the historical buildings still in use. After completing their research students used the information they gathered to create a storytelling video with excerpts from the interviews, a web page, and digital photo archives. The Vo-Ag class, working with other members of the community, also constructed a replica of an early blacksmith shop which will be placed in the Museum of the Beartooths.

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