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Our History: 1972 - 1979


"Aging Lifestyles: Growing Old in Montana," "Eclipse '79 Celebration," "Violence in the Family," "Women and Technology: Deciding What's Appropriate," "Montana Agriculture: The Economics and the Myth," "The River is Wider Than It Seems," and "Who Owns the West?" are among regrant projects.

Continued MCH attention to oral history initiatives.

Membership changes from three- to four-year terms.


Two new statewide themes appear: "Montana and the West: New Directions," and "Heritage and Challenge."

MCH funds oral history projects under "New Directions," and, in what is the beginning of the Media Collection, begins to circulate video and film series such as The American Short Story.

"Governor's Conference on Families."

First Governor's appointments to Committee: Alene Cooper and Perry Melton.


NEH Reauthorization legislation from Congress significantly broadens program opportunities for state councils, removing the requirement of focus on public policy.

"The Future of Montana's Economy," with Malcolm Forbes and Ernst F. Schumacher, in Helena.

"Women Aware: Traditions in Transition," Bozeman.


"Traditions in Transition" is the theme for an eighteen-month grant period from NEH.

"Montana and the West: Perspectives on Its Past, Its Present, and Its Preservation," in Helena.


"Private Rights and Public Choices" continues.

Projects include a town meeting series, the film "Foreign Ethnic Influences in Montana" and the conference "Montana and the West: New Directions" with the Montana Historical Society.

MCH sponsorship of the Historical Society annual conference continues for many years.


The Committee's new theme is "Private Rights and Public Choices."

Regrants include a second "Montana Land Use Conference," "Montana Local Government Review" town meetings, "Should Religious Values Influence Politics?" conference, and film documentary "Outside the Melting Pot."

Director Bruce Sievers resigns to become founding director of the California Humanities Council.

The Committee appoints Margaret Kingsland acting director, and later, director.

Sievers and Kingsland attend a first meeting of western state humanities council directors, from which the idea of a regional, and later, a national, Federation of State Humanities Councils, is born.


Membership and statewide theme continue…regrant projects include a television program on Hutterites in Montana, the "Political Decisions in Montana" television series, and the influential "Montana Land Use Conference."

Statewide conference "Politics: The Dilemma of Power and Morality," in Billings, includes Rollo May, Michael Walzer, and Senator Harold Hughes.

First MCH newsletter appears.

Director Sievers hires Margaret Kingsland as administrative assistant.


Montanans Robert Pantzer, Pierce Mullen, Joe Ward, John Van de Wetering, and Roy Huffman are invited to Washington, D.C., to meet with officials of the National Endowment for the Humanities to discuss formation of a state humanities council in Montana.

They submit a planning proposal ($15,000), add new members Alma Jacobs, Earl Barlow, and Harold Stearns, and hire director Bruce Sievers and secretary Leslie Hargesheimer.

The incipient Committee holds a series of state conferences, and, by August, submits a proposal to NEH, with the theme "Political Power in Montana," and requesting $155,000 for 1972-73.

The full Committee's first meeting of record—including new members David Drum, James Murray, Bradley Parrish, William MacKay, Jr., and Flora Willett—occurs on October 30, 1972, in Bozeman.

A grants subcommittee is appointed by chair Pantzer, but approval of a first regrant proposal, to KUFM in Missoula, does not occur until the Committee's second meeting, December 1-2, at which time the Committee holds its first public conference, on "Political Power and Human Values in Montana" in Helena.