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Our History: 2000 - 2009


Ken Egan becomes Executive Director.

Farewell Reception for Mark Sherouse.

"Can We Talk?" Conference, Billings.

"Reason and Respect" Conference, Hamilton.

The Surrounded chosen as One Book Montana.

Humanities Roundtable, HM's social network, launches.

Reflect: Community Readings and Conversations begins.

Civic Education Institute in Billings.

Montana Festival of the Book features mystery writers Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, and Laura Lippman.

Grants include "Tribal Histories Gathering in Bozeman," screening and discussion of "Prodigal Sons" in Helena, "A-Z Lecture Series" at MSU-Bozeman, "Butte Digital Film Project," and "High Plains Book Festival" in Billings.

Humanities Montana receives its fifth Schwartz Prize for its Public Affairs Initiative.


"Can We Talk" continues in Great Falls

Humanities Montana receive a $76,000 "Congressionally-directed grant" from the US Department of Education thanks to Senator Max Baucus, to "continue civic education programs."

Grants include "Facing the Storm: the Story of the American Bison," "The Write Question," "The Tenth Amendment: Do State Really Matter?", "Religion, Violence and Law—A Community Forum on Islam in Central and Southwest Asia," and "Our Lives Along the River: Discussions of Yellowstone River Valley Life."

One Book Montana selection is Kirby Larson's Hattie Big Sky.

Montana Library Association honors Humanities Montana as a "special friend of libraries."

New website, new online grant and other applications.

Humanities Montana hosts annual conference of state humanities council program directors.

Montana Festival of the Book features Thomas McGuane, Andre Dubus, Mary Clearman Blew, James Lee Burke, Rick Bass, William Kittredge and Annick Smith.

Executive Director Mark Sherouse announces his retirement, effective in 2009; board appoints Kim Anderson acting executive director.


"Key Ingredients" concludes in Bigfork.

"The Meaning of Service" reading and discussion program with Montana Conservation Corps.

Grants include "Governor's Food and Agriculture Summit," "Home Ground Radio," "We're Making History/Billings' First 125 Years," "Beyond Borders and Boundaries: David Thompson and the North American Fur Trade," and more.

One Book Montana is Guy Vanderhaeghe's The Last Crossing.

Governor's Humanities Award honorees included Rose Marie Aus (Glendive), Marvin Granger (Billings), Eve Malo (Dillon), William Marcus (Missoula), and Johnnie Lockett Thomas (Miles City).

Montana Festival of the Book includes Deirdre McNamer, James Lee Burke, Ron Carlson, Guy Vanderhaeghe, Governor Schweitzer, Jag, the inaugural Define-a-thon, Poetry under the Big Sky, and much more.

Humanities Montana gets new name, new look, new messages.

Public Affairs Initiative: "Can We Talk? Public Discourse in Montana" conference Bozeman.

35th anniversary.


Key Ingredients: America By Food tours Butte, Libby, Conrad, Huntley, and Colstrip; concludes its tour in 2007 in Bigfork.

"Humanities Boutique."

One Book Montana is Ivan Doig's This House of Sky.

The seventh Montana Festival of the Book features William Kittredge, Barry Lopez, Ivan Doig, Jess Walter, Greg Mortensen, Kirby Larson, Dorothy Patent, David James Duncan, David Quammen, and many others; attracts more than 6,000.

Notable grants include book festivals in Helena and Meagher County; publication of Dennis Swibold's The Copper Chorus: Mining, Politics, and the Montana Press, 1889-1959; "Montana By Food" photo exhibit; Montana Mosaic teachers' institute; Montana Indian Education for All conference; Champions of the World documentary.

MCH hosts biennial meeting of Western Humanities Directors.

Jamie Doggett appointed by the White House, confirmed by the Senate, to a six-year term on the National Humanities Council.

Yvonne Gritzner retires after fifteen years with MCH.

Major governance and other changes enacted.


MCH and its Montana Center for the Book are honored by the Library of Congress with the Daniel Boorstin Award for excellence in promoting Montana literature, libraries, and literacy.

Farcountry Press publishes Eat Our Words: Montana Writers' Cookbook, a fund-raiser for the Montana Center for the Book.

The 2006 Montana Festival of the Book attracts an audience of some 4,700, featuring gala readers Rick Bass, Sandra Alcosser, and James Crumley.

Governor's Humanities Award honorees include Art Ortenberg and Liz Claiborne, Jamie Doggett, Darrell Kipp, Joseph Mussulman, and Bob and Pauline Poore.

One Book Montana features Diane Smith's Letters From Yellowstone.

Major grants include the publication of Beaver Steals Fire by the University of Nebraska Press and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Missoula, "The Historical Jesus in the 21st Century," Rocky Mountain College, Billings, and the "Burton K. Wheeler and the Coming of the War," Wheeler Center, Bozeman.


MCH wins its fourth Schwartz Prize from the Federation of State Humanities Councils, honoring the nation's outstanding public humanities program.

One Book Montana features James Welch's Fools Crow.

Letters About Literature attracts more than 600 Montana entries.

Outstanding regrants include "The Bill of Rights: Alive and Well, or Under Siege?", publication of The Salish People and the Expedition of Lewis and Clark, the documentary "Evelyn Cameron: Photographing Montana," the "Children of Children" exhibit at Southgate Mall in Missoula; and an update and revision of the nationally-acclaimed "Discovering Lewis & Clark" website.

The fifth Montana Festival of the Book features a special edition of NPR's "Selected Shorts" program, gala readers Mark Spragg, James Lee Burke, and Chuck Palahniuk.


Fourth Montana Festival of the Book.

Screening of Stone Reader and appearance by director Mark Moskowitz.

Gala readers include Leif Enger, Robert Wrigley, and David Quammen.

Inauguration of One Book Montana with Mildred Walker's Winter Wheat. More than fifty groups statewide participate, Montana Public Radio and Yellowstone Public Radio readings and panels.

Governor's Humanities Award honorees include Diana Eck, Harry Fritz, Sue Hart, Cindy Kittredge, and James Welch.

Major grants include "Confluence of Cultures" and "Montana and the Silk Road."

MCH former chair Jamie Doggett retires as chair of the board of directors of the Federation of State Humanities Councils.

READON! becomes OpenBook.

Book festival grants in Billings, Great Falls, and Helena.


Major bookfest grant from National Endowment for the Arts.

Third Montana Festival of the Book.

Bookfest mini-grants to Bozeman, Great Falls, and Helena.

Development of 9-11 special edition of Speakers Bureau.

Missoula high school student Ledah Wilcox wins national Letters About Literature contest.

Grants include research fellowship on African Americans in territorial Montana.

Documentary on the Montana Constitutional Convention (and support for its 30th anniversary conference).

Home Ground radio series.

Lecture series on the 225th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Billings residency for poet (and now National Endowment for the Arts Chairman-nominee) Dana Gioia.

Kalispell lecture and discussion series on 9-11.

Presentations on PBS' Frontier House by its historian/ consultants.

Lectures preceding Shakespeare in the Parks' summer productions of Henry IV, Part I.

Missoula series on public issues in healthcare.


Second Montana Festival of the Book.

Bookfest mini-grant events in Billings and Great Falls.

Library of Congress renews Montana Center for the Book designation through 2004.

Second Lewis and Clark scholar in residence (Jonathan Logan Alllen).

"Shamans and the Origin of Art" in Bozeman.

Jamie Doggett elected chair of board of Federation of State Humanities Councils.

Governor's Humanities Awards to Greg Keeler, Paul Lauren, Henrietta Mann, Harriet Meloy, Helen "Gus" Miller, Lee Rostad, and the Western Heritage Center.

Grants awarded for "Barn Again! An American Icon" traveling exhibit to museums in Cascade, Clancy, Cut Bank, Dillon, Hardin, Lewistown, and Malta.


"Toward Deliberative Dialogue in Western Communities" progresses.

Lilly Endowment grant for "Art of Association."

First Montana Festival of the Book.

"The Jazz Age in Paris: 1914-40," "The 100 Years That Made 2000 A. D.," "Montana's Millennial Literary Map," "Lewis and Clark Scholar in Residence – 2000" (Gary Moulton), "American Schools: Public Choices," "Champions of the World: The Fort Shaw Indian Girls Basketball Team of 1904," "Vocal Music of the Assiniboine and Sioux."

MCH wins its third Schwartz Prize for Excellence in Public Programming for 1999's Bozeman Trail Heritage Conference.