Humanities Montana awards over $73,800 to organizations 
across the state through seasonal grant programs

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October 20, 2023, Missoula, Mont. ― Humanities Montana recently awarded $73,883 to humanities projects across the state through their Opportunity, Film + Video, and Regular Grants. The grant programs support public programming and projects that strengthen cooperative relationships among communities and enrich civic discourse across the state.

Over the past several months, the following 15 organizations have received funding from Humanities Montana:

Opportunity Grants – $3,000 Awarded

  • The Catch of a Lifetime: Fly-fishing Literature with author John MacLean, Bozeman Public Library, Bozeman, MT, $1,000. Author John MacLean has penned a major new Foreword to the Centennial anniversary edition of Big Two-Hearted River by Ernest Hemingway. Mr. MacLean is interested in discussing how this short story affected his life and inspired his love of fly fishing. Bozeman Public Library hosted a reading, presentation, and discussion with Mr. MacLean on Friday, September 29 about Ernest Hemingway’s Big Two-Hearted River along with some of his own work.
  • Virginia City Players Research & Oral History Project, Montana State University Library, Bozeman, MT, $1,000. In honor of the 75th anniversary of the Virginia City Players in Virginia City, MT, this grant will research and capture the previously undocumented history of the longest-running summer theater West of the Mississippi. This company has been supported and thrived in a small community of just 223. This project will collect oral histories and photographs from long-time players to patrons, compiling a cohesive history of the company.
  • Jesse Albrecht Exhibition/Artist Talk, Schoolhouse History & Art Center, Colstrip, MT, $1,000. In November 2023, the Schoolhouse Art and History Center (SHAC) in Colstrip, MT will host a lecture and discussion with artist, Jesse Albrecht, to critically interpret his artwork and explore heavy themes of loss, cross-cultural experiences, war, travel, and religion. As a veteran of the Iraq war, the speaker will talk about his own ideas and take meaningful questions to further elaborate on those ideas. The talk will discuss the historical context of the work and also the philosophical meaning behind each piece. SHAC will offer this program in collaboration with, the artist, the public, and, if possible, children at Frank Brattin Middle School. The exhibition will be shown mid-October through the month of November and the lecture will take place close to Veteran’s Day.

Film + Video Projects – $40,500 Awarded

  • The Story of Us: The Women Who Shaped Montana, The Extreme History Project, Bozeman, MT, $10,000. The Story of Us: The Women Who Shaped Montana is an Emmy-nominated episodic series about historic women of Montana. Too many times women have been overlooked and simply left out of our historical narrative. The time has come to bring those stories to the public and show how the women of Montana contributed to our state. The next two 30-minute episodes will feature the stories of Rose Hum Lee, Helen Clarke, Fannie Sperry Steele, Minnie Two Shoes, Rose Gordon, and Ella Knowles Haskell.
  • Stars & Stories: Northern Cheyenne, the Morning Star People, Montana State University Billings, Billings, MT, $5,500. Stars & Stories: Northern Cheyenne, the Morning Star People is a planetarium video. This integrative experience will feature audio of the story in Northern Cheyenne, subtitles in English & Northern Cheyenne while viewing a projection of the night sky and Northern Cheyenne story artwork. This two-eyed framework of Indigenous and Western astronomy knowledge will give participants an immersive cultural experience while preserving the Northern Cheyenne language and culture for future generations.
  • USS Montana Documentary Project, USS Montana Committee, Inc., Bigfork, MT, $10,000. This documentary-length film will highlight the complete story of, including demonstrated support, state pride, diversity, and heritage behind, the USS MONTANA (SSN 794) nuclear-powered fast attack submarine commissioned into the U.S. Navy fleet in June of 2022. The program will also include the historic state-support parallels and differences found in the little-known but amazing history of the only previous USS MONTANA, an armored cruiser commissioned in 1908.
  • Connecting the Grizzly, International League of Conservation Photographers, Missoula, MT, $10,000. Connecting The Grizzly is a documentary film that dives into the human side of grizzly bear conflict that’s been escalating across Montana. This project seeks to highlight the interdisciplinary, cross-cultural approaches that have the potential to address human-wildlife conflict in ways that benefit both human and wildlife populations at a time when the state is experiencing more crowded landscapes than ever before.
  • Unearthed: Native Peoples’ Ancient Lives Revealed in the Greater Yellowstone, Documentary Educational Resources & Wild Excellence Films, Beartooth Mountains, MT, $5,000. There is an amazing transformation happening in the Greater Yellowstone. The rugged mountains in the heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are releasing some of their ancient secrets. This one-hour documentary film will tell a fascinating story that weaves together Native American history and modern science: a race against melting ice to document and bring to life the stories of the ancient past and give a platform and voice to Native tribes and their sacred way of life.

Regular Grant Projects – $30,383 Awarded

  • New Songs for the Butte Mining Camp Essay Book, The Clark Chateau, Butte, MT, $5,000. New Songs for the Butte Mining Camp is a unique history-based concert and lecture series focusing on revitalizing Butte-specific mining and labor songs found in a circa 1917 songbook at the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives. The Clark Chateau will conclude this series by creating a new book, which will include the original lyrics from the songbook, historic images, and essays from participating musicians and researchers from around Montana.
  • Indigenous Heritage Celebration: Language & Art, C.M. Russell Museum, Great Falls, MT, $4,383. The International Traditional Games Society invited the C.M. Russell Museum to participate in the first annual Gathering of Families October 8-14, 2023 in Great Falls, MT. The museum hosted an Indigenous expert to speak at the celebration on the evening of Oct. 11th and included a walk-and-talk tour to provide insight into Russell’s work from an Indigenous perspective while emphasizing the importance of tribal language in order to truly understand his work.
  • Rocky Mountain Kid Lit Festival, Billings Public Library, Billings, MT, $3,000. The Rocky Mountain Kid Lit Festival is a one-day celebration of children’s books that promotes reading, writing, and illustrating. Kids will listen to stories, participate in writing and illustrating activities, and have the chance to meet regional writers and illustrators of children’s books. Attendees will learn about the creative process and practice various modes of creative expression. All sessions are held at the Billings Public Library.
  • Montana Media Lab’s Threatened Podcast, University of Montana – Montana Media Lab, Missoula, MT, $5,000. Threatened is a nine-part podcast that tells the story of the Endangered Species Act through the eyes of people affected by the federal law: the folks forced to change their ways of life to protect species and the activists and scientists working to protect biodiversity. Listeners will come away with a more nuanced understanding of the tradeoffs and conflicts that arise when a regulation is implemented. It will be produced by Montana Public Radio and the Montana Media Lab.
  • Native Filmmaker Initiative (NFI) Film Club, Big Sky Film Institute, Missoula, MT, $4,000. The Native Filmmaker Initiative Film Club is a virtual youth education outreach program that screens a curated selection of Indigenous-made documentary films in classrooms across Montana. Following the screenings, filmmakers visit classrooms virtually for a live Q&A and discussion activities rooted in Montana’s Indian Education for All Essential Understandings. The program aims to expand media literacy practices and instill a more expansive use of Indigenous representation in the classroom.
  • ‘The Write Question’ a Montana Public Radio program and podcast, University of Montana – Montana Public Radio, Missoula, MT, $4,000. Montana Public Radio (MTPR) presents ‘The Write Question’ (TWQ), a radio program and podcast featuring conversations with authors from the American West and those living and writing beyond our geographical borders. TWQ is made available to other public radio stations across the country via the Public Radio Exchange (PRX), and it is available to listeners outside of the public radio landscape via podcast platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and others.
  • Norman Maclean Festival presents Finding our Place in Nature: The Power of Story, Alpine Artisans, Inc., Seeley Lake, MT, $5,000. Alpine Artisans will host another biennial Norman Maclean Literary Festival in September 2024 that will explore the theme ‘Finding Our Place in Nature: The Power of Story’ with acclaimed native and non-native authors and speakers engaging participants through panel discussions and field trips.