Letter from the Director

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This summer, we were asked by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to create a map that illustrates every Montana county in which we have sponsored a public humanities program or funded a humanities project over the past five years. We discovered that between November 2015 and October 2020 (our fiscal year runs from November through October), Humanities Montana had been in 51 of Montana’s 56 counties! The only five we did not get to were Judith Basin, Golden Valley, Petroleum, Garfield, and Powder River counties.

We showed this impact map to our Montana Conversations and Speakers in the Schools presenters at a recent virtual gathering. We thanked them and told them we could not have covered so much ground without them. Our dedicated speakers, however, took the five empty spaces on the map as a challenge. “Next time we’ll get to all 56!” One of our newest speakers, Chris La Tray, promised to go to Judith Basin county, and one of our veteran speakers, Hal Stearns, volunteered for Golden Valley county.

The resurgence of COVID and the Delta variant make it difficult to know how to move forward with these and other high hopes for the coming months, but we have much to celebrate in the meantime. In late August, we officially announced the recipients of our 2021 Governor’s Humanities Awards: Dorothy Bradley, Dr. Janine Pease, Jim Robbins, Jim Scott, and Chrysti Smith are five Montanans who have made significant and lifelong contributions to the humanities in our state. I invite you to join us virtually on Thursday, September 30 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. for a celebration of these dedicated public humanists; you can register for the free awards ceremony through this link.

Since the onset of the pandemic, we have been able to the bring the humanities to more Montanans than ever through our virtual programs. But I look forward to the day we can be fully in-person in all 56 of Montana’s great counties.

Warmest regards,

Randi Lynn Tanglen, Ph.D.
Executive Director