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Montana Historical Society Conference Goes to Northwest Montana

Note: Jeff Gruber will be presenting a paper at this year’s History Conference in Whitefish. He’ll be part of panel that includes William Robbins, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of History from Oregon State University. Some of you will remember Professor Robbins from when he joined us for our field school in Libby. Rich Aarstad will join Jeff and Bill. He now works as a reference historian at MHS, and he also spoke to us at the Libby field school. Jeff will focus on perceptions of corporate betrayal in small timber towns.

The 31st Annual Montana Historical Society History Conference will be held in Whitefish Oct. 28-30 with this year’s theme “Hittin’ The High Spots.?

“This is a history-rich area of Montana, and we are looking forward to our first trip there for the History Conference,? Society Museum Services Director Sue Near said. “We hope that lots of people turn out to share their love of this part of the country with us and others who share the same feelings.?

The conference begins on Thursday with workshops that feature something of interest for history buffs as well as those with professional ties to history and heritage. Sessions focus on care of artifacts and collections, and Native American cultures in the area exploring such things as native plants used for medicine, food and other uses.

Thursday night University of Montana History Professor Harry Fritz will present the keynote address at the O’Shaughnessy Center on “Lost in Montana: The Truth about Lewis and Clark.? Fritz is a foremost authority on Montana history and known for his entertaining and engaging presentations.

Conference registration will be at the Grouse Mountain Lodge, but those who want more information or advance registration should call 406-444-2694 or log on to

The Society is partnering with local hosts, the Stumptown Historical Society and the Whitefish Branch Library.

On Friday Society Director Arnold Olsen will present the State of the Society speech, which will be followed by many concurrent sessions the rest of the day.

Friday’s sessions include “Montana Mysteries? dealing with topics like the Flathead Lake monster legends, UFO sightings, and vigilantes in Virginia City, “Timberrr: Conflict and Change in the Pacific Northwest? dealing with development of the timber industry throughout the Northwest, “Plant Use among Prehistoric and Historic Montana Indians,? “Writers of Montana: Dorothy M. Johnson and James Welch,? Johnson is a Whitefish Native and author of “When You and I Were Young Whitefish? and Welch was a Blackfeet, and important to the area: “Historic and Retro Tourist Attractions.?

Saturday sessions feature things like “The Great Northern Railway? that shaped Whitefish and the surrounding area when it came 100 years ago, “Playing in Snow: Montana Winter Recreation,? and the ever popular conference event “Jerks in Montana History: Speaking Ill of the Dead.? In the afternoon, historic guided tours will be offered to Lake McDonald and Apgar, and a traveling tour featuring the history of the North Fork.

The Society will present its annual history trustee awards at a banquet at Grouse Mountain Lodge Friday evening.

The cost of the entire three-day package that includes meals and entertainment is $125, but workshops can be purchased separately.

“We believe we have brought together an impressive group of speakers and experts that will offer an exciting and entertaining vision of the great history of one of the most beautiful and dramatic areas in the world,? Near said.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 09/27 at 01:53 PM






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