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Our History: 2010 - Present


Governor Steve Bullock recognizes Chere Jiusto, John Murray, Hal and Sheila Stearns, Karen Stevenson, and Dottie Susag with the Governor’s Humanities Award. Michael Punke, a former Humanities Montana board member, provides a stirring keynote address at the awards banquet.

Humanities Montana introduces its Tribal Partnerships Initiative during a fall board meeting in Browning. The first tribal partner is the Aassaistto Language Society on the Blackfeet Reservation, dedicated to Pikanni language revitalization.

Sidney welcomes Hometown Humanities with diverse programs for schools and museums. A capstone lecture focuses on the legacy of the Bakken oil boom.

The Montana Center for the Book awards its first prizes.

The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation provides a three-year award to support Speakers in the Schools across Montana.

64 grants support projects such as a film focused on a Montanan living in a biracial world, a Michif (Metis) cultural festival, and an exhibit on the cultures of Billings’ Southside.

Ken Egan publishes his second public history book, Montana 1889: Indians, Cowboys, and Miners in the Year of Statehood, to encourage Montanans to reconsider their past and present.


Livingston serves as Hometown Humanities host, featuring programs on economic justice, artists’ reflections on their works’ impact, and creative writing opportunities for diverse community members.

Humanities Montana offers compelling literary programs across the state through a special grant from the Pulitzer Foundation.

“Our Current State,” a set of Montana Conversations programs focused on contemporary cultures and issues, launches through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Humanities Montana provides 51 grants to support exciting humanities projects across Montana, including a documentary film on the Bozeman Trail, a humanities conference at Carroll College with the theme "Hope and Fear," and creative writing programs for incarcerated youth.

182 Montana Conversations programs take place across the state. Joseph S. Sample provides a recurring major gift to assure these programs are available to Montanans in rural communities.

Ken Egan is elected to the Federation of State Humanities Councils board of directors. He becomes chair of the Federation’s Legislative Committee, focused on advocating federal funding for state and territorial humanities councils.


Humanities Montana receives its 6th Schwartz Prize for the Hometown Humanities program.

Governor’s Humanities Award recipients include Philip Aaberg, Jack Gladstone, Yvonne Gritzner, Kirby Lambert, Dr. Richard Littlebear, and Bill Rossiter.

A National Endowment for the Humanities site visit team meets with board, staff, and constituents in June, producing an encouraging overview of our work that points the way to an even stronger cultural nonprofit.

Havre serves as host for Hometown Humanities, offering a record number of programs, in part through special grants from Montana State University Bozeman and the National Humanities Alliance.

Humanities Montana provides 157 Montana Conversations programs and 73 Speakers in the Schools offerings all over the state of Montana.

47 grants are awarded to organizations large and small, including grants to support native language preservation and films about important Montana issues.


152 Speakers Bureau programs in 54 communities in 33 counties.

63 Speakers in the Schools programs in multiple classrooms in communities throughout the state, including rural towns such as Brockton, Frenchtown, Clyde Park, Harlowton, Miles City, Gardiner, Troy, and Arlee.

41 grants totaling $130,000 to organizations large and small throughout Montana to support programs on history, literature, Native American cultures, and more.

Book festivals in Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, and Missoula to encourage learning and reflecting together on Montana’s extraordinary literary heritage.

Underwriting for radio programs that reach the entire state through Montana and Yellowstone Public Radio: "Home Ground," "The Write Question," "Mountain Voices," and "Reflections West" that reach the entire state through the two public radio networks.

Hometown Humanities in Lincoln County.

Adopted new strategic plan that calls for even greater emphasis on serving the entire state through programs such as Hometown Humanities, Speakers Bureau and Speakers in the Schools and grants and handing off management of the Montana Festival of the Book to an organizing committee in Missoula.

Publication of Ken Egan’s Montana 1864: Indians, Emigrants, and Gold in the Territorial Year to commemorate Montana Territory’s sesquicentennial and raise funds for HM’s programs and grants.


Seven Montanans receive the Governor’s Humanities Award: John and Anna Brumley, Walter Fleming, Larry Lahren, Mary Murphy, Lawrence Small, and Robert Swartout.

Grants include funding for a major lecture series on science and the humanities at Flathead Valley Community College, a digital history of the Blackfoot Flood, a Young Chautauqua program at Great Falls High School, and statewide support for book festivals and reading and discussion programs.

Humanities Montana Festival of the Book features standing-room only performance by Sherman Alexie, author luncheon with James Lee Burke, and gala reading with Tami Haaland, Richard Manning, Claire Vaye Watkins, and Jamie Ford.

Hometown Humanities Dillon kicks off with a downtown walking tour and community conversation about the importance of the humanities.

"Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys," a special reading and discussion program dedicated to increasing understanding of Islamic cultures, takes place in Dillon and Missoula.

Montana Office of Public Instruction and Montana State Parks provide grants to support Speakers in the Schools and Speakers in the Parks.

"The Heart of the Matter," national report on value of humanities, released, and Governor Steve Bullock issues eloquent testimonial to importance of humanities for Montanans.


40th anniversary celebrations, including recognizing 37 Humanities Heroes and conducting HM’s first endowment-building campaign, 40 at 40.

HM hosts "We the People: Conversations on the Montana and U. S. Constitutions" in Helena, bringing together scholars, citizens, justices, and Constitutional Convention delegates to honor the 40th anniversary of Montana Constitution.

Hometown Humanities launches in Miles City.

Record attendance at HM Festival of the Book, featuring a gala reading with Ivan Doig, David Quammen, and Pam Houston and outtakes from the film "Winter in the Blood," supported in part by HM grants.

Record number of grants—75—awarded, many going to smaller communities and organizations.

Speakers in the Schools program reaches 30 schools.

Julie Dial and Samantha Dwyer present "Humanities Work!" at National Humanities Conference in Chicago.

Communications refresh with redesigned website and promotional materials.


Humanities Montana board approves "Strategic Plan, 2011-15" with commitment to making programs relevant to all Montanans, streamlining grants processes, improving fundraising, and positioning HM’s staff to serve the state of Montana.

Montana Conversations: Speakers in the Schools program launched, offering 70 free programs to schools around the state.

Record number of Opportunity Grants awarded, mainly to smaller museums and libraries.

Film and digital grants awarded to projects such as "Winter in the Blood."

Grants fund projects such as "Beyond the Breadbowl: Hunger, Excess and the American Appetite" and "Heartland in Judith Gap."


2010 Richard Hugo's Selected Poems chosen as One Book Montana.

NEH Site Visit in Missoula.

"State of Montana" public forum with Pat Williams and Lorents Grosfield, moderated by Brian Kahn.

Strategic Planning Retreat, Camus Creek Ranch.

Hosting NEH Chairman Jim Leach on "Civility Tour" in Billings.

Meaning of Service grant renewed.

Humanities Montana Festival of the Book features Hugo Karaoke and A Shiver Runs Through It: The Ghost Gala.

Grants provided for films focused on "the Red Corner" and "Indian Relay."

Grants provided for "End of Life Choices Conference" in Helena, "German Gulch Interpretive Website," "Glacier National Park Exhibit," Montana Musueum of Art and Culture, and more.

Record number of requests for OpenBook programs.

Humanities Montana staff present on social media and rural programs at National Humanities Conference.