A Narrative History of the Montana Heritage Project

How Has the Community Shaped Us?

Renee Rasmussen

Chester High School


To become familiar with the archival research process, juniors at Chester High School selected historical photographs from the Liberty County Museum collections, then researched and wrote interpretive text, creating display panels for the museum. Then they formed questions focusing on how the community has shaped them and upon what their role in the community should be.

Among the questions they chose: “Why have the Sweetgrass Hills never been mined and how has that choice affected the community?” “How did people use their free time before television became common?” “How has the farming culture shaped the community?” “Why was Tiber Dam built, and how has it affected the community’s development?”

Students used local archives, including the extensive collection of research materials created during the past six years by students in the Heritage Projects. The school’s local history collection has grown considerably and now includes a large county history book, a 90-year collection of local newspapers with good finding aids, as well as many business and family histories.

Students added to the historical record by recording oral interviews. The local museum and genealogy society participated, helping with research and providing transportation to interviews. In addition to oral interview tapes, each student contributed a 10-page research essay to the local history collection.

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