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CONTACT US:    406.243.6022    •    •    MORE >


December 2017


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Alexandra Mary


May 9, 1944 - Dec. 1, 2017

Montanans lost a champion of the humanities and the arts this month with the death of Alexandra Mary Swaney. A talented writer, artist, and musician, Alex also worked as an advocate for a number of cultural causes around the state. She was an early volunteer in the creation of the Myrna Loy Center, the Montana Artists Refuge, the Montana Women’s Lobby Fund and the Montana Folklife Festival, and she donated her musical talents to many Humanities Montana events. Alex Swaney will be missed.

Alexandra Mary Swaney

The Humanities Make All the Difference: Montana Stories

"I loved being part of Montana Conversations and presenting stories, history and ideas across Montana. I made presentations from Eureka to Sidney, from Dillon to Miles City. I had audiences over a hundred people and under a dozen — and I loved them all. My favorite audiences were in small towns like Wibaux and Sheridan, Montana, where my presentations were community events. People greeted each other as friends, listened attentively, asked good questions—and ended with great home-made cookies."

— Mark Miller

Grant Deadlines

Humanities Montana’s next grant application deadline is December 20, 2017 for regular grants (over $1,000) as well as research fellowships. We are especially encouraging fellowship applications from faculty at two-year colleges.

Opportunity grants are available for up to $1,000. These quick-action grants are especially helpful for new or emerging humanities projects in smaller communities.

Event Calendar

Visit our online calendar to find out about upcoming Humanities Montana-sponsored events.


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For more information...

Humanities Montana strives to enrich the lives of all Montanans by fostering inquiry and stimulating civil and informed conversations about the human experience.

Much more information on Humanities Montana and its many programs and services is available on our website.

Write us at:

Humanities Montana
311 Brantly
Missoula, MT, 59812-7848

or contact us via email, or call us at 406-243-6022.

Thanks to You It’s Been a Great 45 Years — Here’s to Many More!

As we come to the end of our 45th birthday celebration, the board and staff of Humanities Montana extend a huge thank you for supporting humanities for all Montanans.

Whether it’s by attending a program, or applying for a grant, or serving as a presenter, or joining a veterans’ reading and discussion group, or helping organize a Hometown Humanities project, or making a gift, you have made a difference to Montana.

We remain a small town with long streets—it’s more important than ever that we get together, share our diverse views, and above all, treat each other with respect. Here’s wishing you and yours wonderful holidays—and a new year full of good reading, good thinking, and good conversation.

Fellowships Available for Two-Year College Faculty — Apply by December 20

Humanities Montana offers fellowships up to $4,000 for research projects focused on Montana, and this year we're especially committed to supporting the work of faculty at two-year colleges. Recent fellowship recipients have researched topics such as Shakespeare in Montana, a biography of Willard Fraser (Billings mayor), and culinary practices among native nations.

Applications are due December 20—go here for much more information. If you’re thinking of applying, call 243-6022 to visit with a Humanities Montana staff member. We’re looking forward to hearing about your exciting projects.

Letters About Literature — Deadline January 12

Montana’s Center for the Book, a program of Humanities Montana, will be giving Montana students a chance to submit to the national Letters About Literature competition again this year.

Letters About Literature is a reading and writing contest for students in grades 4-12. Students are asked to read a book, poem, or speech and write to the author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally. A panel of national judges for the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress will select one national winner per competition level to receive a $1,000 cash award. The judges will also select one national honor recipient per competition level to receive a $200 cash award.

Having students write to authors is a great way for teachers to get kids more deeply engaged as readers, and LAL encourages those students’ passion, reflection, and responses. The Library of Congress provides schools with a teaching guide to help get kids writing. Students can enter themselves or teachers can send in their submissions using these guidelines.


• Level 1: Grades 4, 5 and 6

• Level 2: Grades 7 and 8

• Level 3: Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12

Deadline (all competition levels): January 12, 2018

The 2017-2018 Letters About Literature contest for young readers is made possible by the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries, and other organizations. For more information on how to submit, ask a teacher, email Brooke Beighle, or go here.

Hometown Humanities Sidney Offers Winter Programs

The MonDak Heritage Center and schools in northeastern Montana continue to offer cultural programs throughout the holiday season!

Swinging Through American History with Mark Matthews, Tuesday, December 12, MonDak Heritage Center, 7:00 pm

Jimmie Rodgers: The Life and Times of the Father of Country Music with Ed Kemmick, Monday, December 11, MonDak Heritage Center, 7:00 pm

A Visit with an 1879 American Fur Company Trader with Greg Smith, Tuesday, January 9, MonDak Heritage Center, 7:00 pm

For details on school programs contact Kim Anderson.

Exciting Summer Seminars for Montana Teachers

Montana teachers have an opportunity to study with some of the nation’s best scholars in fascinating settings this summer. The National Endowment for the Humanities offers summer seminars and institutes at locations around the country. This year’s topics include “Remaking Monsters and Heroines: Adapting Classic Literature for Contemporary Audiences” and “The Most Southern Place on Earth: Music, History, and Culture of the Mississippi Delta.”

Successful applicants receive financial support to join a learning community for up to two months. The deadline for applications is February 22.

Go here to learn much more.

Grants Awarded:
November 2017

Open Book Project, Choteau-Teton Public Library, Choteau, $1,000: Support for the Open Book Project will provide the community with an opportunity to come together to examine and discuss works of literature to increase understanding of the human experience.

Thanks to Our Generous Supporters — November 2017

We can’t thank you enough for your generous response to our holiday appeal and Giving Tuesday.


Stephenie Ambrose Tubbs
Charles and Lois Anderson
Gale Bacon
Karyl Beattie
Diana Blank
Bonnie Bowler**
Dave Caserio
Devin Egan
Ken Egan*
Marie Habener
Amanda Hale
Gregg Holt
Nellie Israel
Mark Johnson**
Danell Jones**
Bridget Kevane
Thea Koehler
Richard Lewis
Julie Maturen
Stacey Netz
Virginia Niccolucci
Colleen O'Brien
Lisa Olmsted
David Orser and Ossie Abrams
David Patterson
Aaron Pruitt*
Marion Rosa
Russell Rowland
Brian Shovers
Corby Skinner**
Mandy Smoker Broaddus*
Mary Stockdale
Dorothea Susag
Lisa Tate


Billings Cultural Partners
Darby Public Community Library
Elling House Arts and Humanities Center
Flathead Friends of the Library, Inc.
Glacier County Library
Harlem Area Senior Center
Harlem Public Library
Livingston Park County Public Library
Mineral County Medical Foundation
Powell County Chamber of Commerce
Roscoe Community Center
University of Montana Western Foundation
Valley County Historical Society
Wild Rose Center
Yellowstone Corral of Westerners

*Current Board and Staff Members
**Former Board and Staff Members