Local Research

Radio spots: 90 second history stories

This from the Montana Historical Society newsletter:

The Society has a new radio program called History Half-notes airing Monday through Friday following the national news on Helena radio station KCAP, 1340 AM at 8:00 a.m.  Interpretive historian Ellen Baumler has thus far written and recorded sixty ninety-second scripts. The short notes include myriad topics about people, places, and events of local historical interest. History Half-notes began airing in October 2004. KCAP is a corporate member of the Montana Historical Society.

It sounds like a good idea for a special project grant: creating a half-dozen or so scripts and recording them for a local radio program. We would be glad to put them on our website, where they can be streamed at any time.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 01/04 at 09:41 AM
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©2005 Montana Heritage Project

Northwest Labs recognizes Corvallis “Classroom without Walls”

The good work at Corvallis High School gets noticed by Northwest Labs.

Phil and his colleagues at Corvallis High School, most notably Art Rzaza, have created “Classroom without Walls:

Students apply for the program in January, and the eight-day trip takes place the following July. In between, students incorporate language arts, science, and social studies into a thorough, meaningful study of the place they will visit. Each student is required to create a specific lesson plan that culminates in a peer teaching session and the creation of audiovisual teaching materials that can be used in other district classrooms. While on the trip itself, they’re required to haul a 40-pound pack, cook their own meals, and camp in tents in places like the Beartooth Mountains, the Wind River Range, and the Sawtooths—beautiful, rugged wilderness areas that form the most breathtaking classrooms one can imagine.

According to Phil, “This is a very dynamic place, with talented, creative people. Sarah encourages people to integrate all aspects of their lives into their teaching and to teach to their passions. For me, it’s reinvigorated my career. It’s given a meaning and a sense of purpose to my job.”

Art was funded by the Heritage Project early in the history of Classroom without Walls. Phil, of course, is one of the mainstays of the Heritage Project, a reliable source of passion for intellectual rigor and meaningful results.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 01/04 at 09:02 AM
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©2005 Montana Heritage Project

Montana Folks: researching and profiling unique Montanans

I’ve been reading Montana Folks, a new book by Durrae and John Johanek. It includes black and white environmental portraits and 1000-word profiles on 59 Montanans. “The authors sought out those people who are uniquely Montanan, so there’s a third-generation sheepshearer from Reedpoint, a retired road worker who’s job it was to clear the snow off the high-altitude Beartooth Highway, a Missoula-based mushroom hunter and, of course, a grizzly bear expert.”

High school students could do this sort of work: interviews and photographs of Montanans. It seems a good way of interpreting and documenting local culture, encouraging young people to seek out and pay attention to people worth seeking out and paying attention to.  I would love to see a collection of such profiles on this website.

We’ll develop a rubric for writing profiles. If you want a presentation to your students on doing such research and writing, done by me or Katherine or both, let us know. If you are interested in having students do this sort of work, it would be a good idea to have a copy of the book in your classroom as an inspiration and model. Let us know if you want us to order you a copy from Amazon.

Here are tips prepared by Katherine on writing a research-based feature article.

The Johaneks themselves could fit one of the profiles of their book. The couple moved to Bozeman 13 years ago from Pennsylvania, although John is originally from Wisconsin—the giant cheese wedge on his TV testifies to that fact.

A magazine design consultant, he is also a collector of children’s books from the early part of the 20th century, many of which he keeps shelved in his living room. He also boasts an impressive collection of all things 3-D—holograms, 3-D movie posters, stereo-viewers, View Masters, even 3-D cereal boxes.

Durrae is an editorial freelancer who has written articles for Bird Watcher’s Digest and Popular Mechanics. The couple collaborated on a previous book, “Montana Behind the Scenes,” a backroads guide to some of the state’s lesser known but still interesting attractions.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 12/19 at 02:12 PM
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©2004 Montana Heritage Project
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