Humanities Montana awards over $47,000 to organizations across the state through seasonal grant programs

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Grants support humanities projects from Hardin to Whitefish and Milltown to Billings.

July 26, 2023, Missoula, Mont. ― Humanities Montana recently awarded $47,710 to humanities projects across the state through their Opportunity Grants and Regular Grants. The grant programs support public programming and projects that strengthen cooperative relationships among communities and enrich civic discourse across the state.

“Humanities Montana supports grassroots efforts of community organizations to bring people together to learn, collaborate, and grow through meaningful conversations and humanities activities,” said Megan Hill Sundy, Humanities Montana grants manager. “By providing funding to organizations, we’re able to expand the scope, reach, and impact of the humanities in Montana through partnerships and respond directly to community needs. These recent grantees are leading efforts to educate youth through experiential learning, elevate the voices of Montanans with disabilities, and increase knowledge and awareness of past, present, and future cultural affairs among our Indigenous communities.”

“The Western Heritage Center is always excited to partner with Humanities Montana. They are willing to work with you to make the best project possible through their helpful staff and straightforward application process,” said Lauren Hunley, community historian at the Western Heritage Center. “The Western Heritage Center’s Communities with Disabilities Oral Histories Project, supported by Humanities Montana, will provide an opportunity for people living with disabilities to control their own narrative.”

Over the past several months, the following 14 organizations have received funding from Humanities Montana:

  • North Valley Music School Spring and Summer Music Workshops 2023, North Valley Music School, Whitefish, MT, $730. North Valley Music School’s 2023 Spring and Summer Music Workshops are free community events featuring educational lectures and discussions led by a Montanan musician titled, “Your Brain on Music.” The program explores music education from an academic and biological perspective as part of a Community Workshop.
  • Mullan Road Conference 2023, Friends of Two Rivers Inc., Milltown, Montana, $1,000. The annual 2023 Mullan Road Conference held in June at Fort Missoula included an assembly of historians, scholars, and fans of stories surrounding the military wagon road built by Lt. John Mullan from Walla Walla to Fort Benton in 1859-62. The 2023 conference theme examined the ramifications of Mullan’s military wagon road in the decades just before and after construction. These were crucial times for native tribes along the route as they dealt with the effects of floods of Euro-Americans into their homelands, and voices of people representing the Salish tribes from the Flathead Reservation were heard during the conference.
  • A Post-Film Discussion at the 2023 International Wildlife Film Festival (IWFF) with David Quammen + Betsy Gaines Quammen, The Roxy Theater, Missoula, MT, $1,000. Each spring, the International Wildlife Film Festival (IWFF) hosts many festival guests who take part in Q&A sessions during the festival. One 2023 highlight was the screening and post-film discussion for RANGE RIDER. Special guests, David Quammen and Betsy Gaines Quammen, and moderator, Chris Johns, guided a 35-minute conversation about wolf conflict, western expansion, encroaching urbanization in the West, impacts on wildlife, and other current issues in the West today.
  • Food for Thought 2023: An Evening of Great Conversation, Billings Public Library Foundation, Billings, MT, $1,000. This popular event, in its seventeenth year, is a gathering of the community to share thoughts, ask questions, and learn. Discussion topics have been selected from a wide variety of subjects, from arts and literature as well as food, public policy and popular aspects of the Montana scene. Some examples of this year’s Conversation Hosts are: Provost Pardis Mahdavi who will be discussing her Iranian heritage and the morality laws currently affecting Iran, Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Steve Running to talk about water ecosystems, and Jennifer Smith to discuss Indian Education for All.
  • Crow Language for Native American Unit in Suitcases for Schools Programming, The Billings Preservation Society / Moss Mansion, Billings, MT, $1,000. This project will enable the Billings Preservation Society to include a Native American unit in their educational traveling suitcase program for urban and rural schools. Crow tribal member and drum maker Oly Hugs has been assisting with a Native American Artifact Exhibit and restoration of the Crow Warrior Shirt, including language and culture interpretation which they will adapt and incorporate into educational programming at the Moss Mansion, tour scripts, summer camps, and online material. Material created in this project will include worksheets, audio recordings, musical instruments, and lesson ideas for teachers to use in their classrooms. Classroom lessons can include writing, spelling, discussion, art, and music. Teachers will check out, pick up, and return suitcases at the Moss Mansion or access material online.
  • Kids History Day 2023, Big Horn County Historical Museum, Hardin, MT, $700. The Big Horn County Museum Kids History Day is an event created by the museum to encourage young minds from around the county as well as the surrounding area to learn about the rich history of Big Horn County and its homesteader past. Kids History Day is a fun and interactive experience for students to learn about the local and state history of where they grew up and live it for themselves. With over 15 stations of interactive activities, music, and food, students can really get a feel for what life was like on the plains of Montana during the homesteader days.
  • Missoula Writing Collaborative – Ledger Art Poetry Project Anthologies, Missoula Writing Collaborative, Missoula, MT, $1,000. Following a ledger art poetry project in five elementary schools on the Confederated Salish-Kootenai Reservation in February with Salish storyteller Aspen Decker, the Missoula Writing Collaborative will print anthologies with student ledger art and poems. Anthologies will be distributed to students at schools and at a public student poetry reading on May 30, 2023, at Salish Kootenai College.
  • Heirlooms Writing Workshops, Missoula Public Library, Missoula, MT, $400. Dr. Molly Barari of Heirlooms Creative Life Writing will present two workshops at Missoula Public Library during Family History Month (October) 2023. The first session is “Heirlooms Family History Writing Workshop,” and the second session is “Heirlooms Creative Life Story Writing Workshop.”
  • Poetry in the Classroom, Elk River Arts & Lectures, Livingston, MT, $7,000. Funding to support poets visiting elementary-school classrooms to share canonical poetry as well as their own published and unpublished work.
  • No One is Forgotten / Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Publication, Missoula Art Museum, Missoula, MT, $10,000. Humanitarian artist Brian Maguire has been working with families of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) across Montana to amplify their stories and raise awareness about this international crisis. HM funds will support the publication of a catalog of the exhibit.
  • Listen First Podcast: Indigenous Immersion Initiative Mini-Series, Leadership Montana, Bozeman, MT, $5,000. The Listen First Podcast: Indigenous Immersion Initiative Mini-Series visits Tribal Nations and Communities across Montana to learn about Montana’s unique and vibrant Indigenous cultures.
  • Communities with Disabilities Oral History Project, Phase 2, Western Heritage Center, Billings, MT, $7,000. The Western Heritage Center’s Communities with Disabilities Oral History project will collect and document the history of people living with disabilities.
  • Her Stories: Women of the West in Art and History – Presentation and Panel Discussion, Hockaday Museum, Kalispell, MT, $4,050. A presentation and panel discussion with visual artists Amy Brakeman Livezey, Jessica Glenn, and Tessa Heck, and guest speakers Margaret Davis and Renee Bear Medicine speaking on their work, background, and stories of notable Montana women, and ending with a timely roundtable discussion on women’s history, gender issues, and art history.
  • Stolen Waters Summit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT, $6,930. The Stolen Waters Summit centers on the cultural impacts of waterways and river basins of the Missouri, Columbia, Colorado, and Rio Grande on Indigenous peoples. Plenary speakers include UM graduate students from the Blackfeet and Navajo Nations and Shoshone-Bannock and Pueblo Tribes, Indigenous historians, philosophers, ethnobotanists, poets, storytellers, and Indigenous knowledge keepers. The conference will also hail a resurgence of traditional foods and farming and celebrate poetry and music.

Humanities Montana is currently accepting applications from eligible organizations for Opportunity Grants of up to $1,000, Regular Grants in excess of $1,000, and Film + Video Grants of up to $10,000. 

Humanities Montana employs an open application system for Opportunity Grants and awards are subject to funding availability. The next deadline for Regular Grant and Film + Video applications is August 20, 2023.

To learn more, contact Humanities Montana’s grants manager via phone (406) 243-6067 or email 

About Humanities Montana

Humanities Montana is Montana’s state humanities council. With a mission to serve Montana’s multicultural communities through stories and conversation, Humanities Montana offers experiences that nurture imagination and ideas by speaking to Montanans’ diverse history, literature, and philosophy. Established in 1972, Humanities Montana is one of 56 councils across the nation that the National Endowment for the Humanities created in order to better infuse the humanities directly and effectively into public life. They produce, fund, create and support humanities-based projects and programs, eye-opening cultural experiences, and meaningful conversations.