Our Lecture Series

2022 Lecture Series

All lectures will be presented via Zoom at 6pm.

January 20 – 6pm – Scott Carpenter and Lesley Gilmore – “Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘til it’s Gone: Historic Preservation in Bozeman”(with appreciation and apologies to Joni Mitchell). To register for this presentation, please click here. 

This informal, but lively presentation will examine Bozeman’s unique historical context and irreplaceable collection of historic buildings. The discussion will present a brief summary of Bozeman’s history, along with the definitions, facts and benefits of historic preservation. We will also examine the many rumors and misperceptions that precede, or derail preservation efforts. We will look at the importance of historic preservation to maintaining higher property values, providing the best opportunities for green energy and conservation versus demolition and new construction, and celebrate the positive aspects of maintaining a meaningful aesthetic and neighborhood appeal. We will also present ideas for how individual property owners can investigate the history of their properties, plan for effective renovation projects, and support historic preservation efforts in Bozeman.

Scott Carpenter is an archaeologist, historian, and architectural historian. He owns InteResources Planning, Inc., and has a professional career extending over 40 years in the private sector and the National Park Service. Scott is a recognized expert on the National Historic Preservation Act and various state and local regulations, tax credit programs, and preservation planning.

Lesley Gilmore is a historic preservation architect who’s passion for historic preservation is professional and personal, evidenced by her dedicated involvement in the Association for Preservation Technology, the AIA Historic Resources Committee, Preserve Montana, and the Extreme History Project.

February 24 – Dr. Janine Pease – The Crow Indian Students’ at Carlisle Indian Industrial School, 1883 – 1918: A Bittersweet Legacy. 

One hundred Crow Indian students attended Carlisle Indian Industrial School, from 1883 to 1918. The local BIA Agent chose students to make the 2,000 mile train journey to the military industrial boarding school in Pennsylvania. Mostly older in age, the Crow students were assigned to industrial and domestic arts training and placements. Contagious debilitating illness impacted many students, others chose to escape, while a select few succeeded by surviving the loneliness and military discipline to graduate. Sadly, there are those who perished. Dr. Pease explored the Crow student files to understand their demographics, education, health and overall outcomes. A final section highlights the influence several Carlisle graduates exerted on their Crow families, communities and the Crow Nation.
Biography of Presenter: Dr. Janine Pease is an Adjunct LBHC Faculty Member in humanities and social sciences. Her historical research focuses on the lives of Crow Indian women and children from 1830 to the present. She holds bachelor’s degrees in sociology and anthropology, Central Washington University 1970, and advanced degrees in higher education, from Montana State University – Bozeman 1988 & 1994. Dr. Pease was a Faculty member at LBHC, 2013 – 2020; coordinated Crow language revitalization initiatives; and, participated in the LBHC Oral HIstory Project. Since 2014, she has been a board member of the Crow Language Consortium, a non-profit for language materials development. She served as the Cabinet Head for Education for the Crow Nation (2010-2012), the founding president of Little Big Horn College from 1982 – 2000, and adult education director for the Crow Central Education Commission, 1975 – 1979. Janine served on the Human Rights Commission 2003-2006, the Districting and Apportionment Commission 1999-2003, and the University System Board of Regents, 2006-2011 in Montana. She was the lead plaintiff in Windy Boy v. Big Horn County, 1986, a precedent setting American Indian voting rights case. Janine is an enrolled Crow Indian, and also Hidatsa, English and German. She is a member of the Newly Made Lodges clan and a child of the Big Lodge Clan. She is the mother of two, grandmother of seven, great-grandmother of two and resides in Billings MT.

May 19 – 6pm – Jon Axline – Montana Highway Tales

There is plenty of Montana’s exciting history visible from its storied highways. Over the past forty years, the Montana Department of Transportation has recorded and photographed hundreds of archaeological sites and historic properties. Many are rather mundane, but many more have fascinating stories to tell about the state’s colorful past. Montana Highway Tales tells the stories of just a few of those places. Some, like the stone chimney south of Havre and the concrete structure built into the hillside between Logan and Three Forks, have been the subject of speculation by motorists for decades. Jon Axline’s presentation will delve into the histories of the Bozeman Trail, the famed Smith Mine near Bearcreek, Montana’s cold war radar stations, historically significant roads and bridges in the state, and giant grasshoppers among other subjects. Montana history is much more than vigilantes, the Battle of the Little Bighorn, and copper kings. This presentation will, hopefully, widen our appreciation for the state’s varied and lively history.

Jon Axline is the long-time historian and interpretive marker coordinator at the Montana Department of Transportation. Long ago, he graduated from Montana State University with an MA in American history. Since then, Jon has since published a number of articles and books on a variety of Montana history subjects ranging from raptor dinosaurs to the cold war sky watchers. He lives in Helena with his wife, Lisa, three Corgis and a very spoiled dachshund.

2021 Lecture Series

All lectures will be presented via Zoom at 6pm.

October 21 – 6pm – Danielle Skjelver, PhD – Monsters, Witches, and Werewolves – Oh My! CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE PRESENTATION. This lecture will transport the audience back in time to early modern Europe, where monsters abounded at the edges of the known world and could be found as close as a country fair. It was a time when neighbors accused neighbors of witchcraft, and when some consulted their pastors or priests because they feared that they themselves might – unwillingly – be practicing witchcraft in their sleep. It was a time when werewolves roamed the French countryside. The first part of the lecture will introduce the audience to the concept of the early modern monstrous and the cultural utility of monsters. Next, there will be an exploration of how the concept of witchcraft changed from the early medieval period to early modernity. A discussion on werewolves will round out the evening as type of witchcraft associated with men.  Danielle Mead Skjelver, PhD, is from Billings and lives in Bozeman. She is a Collegiate Associate Professor of History with the University of Maryland Global Campus, which was founded to serve American troops overseas. Her research interests include Fort Yellowstone as well as Renaissance armies and the women who followed them. Her current research focus is the early modern surge of interest in the question: What makes us human? She has produced scholarship on the intersection of gender, language, and power in 16th century Europe. Among her publications is a translation of a Norwegian study on immigrants in the US-Dakota War, and she recently translated a 17th century French treatise on satyrs.

August 19 – 6pm – Paul Stouffer and Susan Anderegg – Where in Bozeman? CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRESENTATION.  Join Paul Stouffer and Susan Anderegg for a peek into their new book “Where in Bozeman: A Short History of Bozeman in 51 Photos.” The book, a scavenger hunt of sorts, features images from buildings, places, and locations throughout Bozeman that you have probably seen but may not have noticed. All of these places have history, and Paul and Susan do a wonderful job of threading history, place, and imagery together. This talk will highlight the things we pass by every day without actually noticing them, visual white noise we don’t give a second glance. Many of these things can tell us something about the history of where we live, things worth remembering, maybe even saving.

April 22 – 6pm – Kerri Keller Clement – “What is a country without horses?” Robert Yellowtail and Horse Herd Restoration on the Crow Reservation, 1934-1944. (Sponsored by Vicky York) CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRESENTATION. During the early twentieth century, local white ranchers and Bureau of Indian Affairs agents systematically slaughtered or sold Crow horses in the name of reducing the equine population to protect grazing. Such actions proved economically and culturally devastating for the Crow, who relied on horses for agricultural work and used the animals to measure individual and collective social and economic power. Robert Yellowtail, the first Crow tribal member to assume the role of reservation Superintendent, began a sweeping campaign in 1934 to rebuild Crow horse herds as part of his programs as Superintendent. This talk will cover how Yellowtail used papered and expensive breeding stock like massive draft horses and Kentucky Derby racehorses to rebuild the herds in the 1930s.  Kerri Keller Clement is a Ph.D. candidate at University of Colorado-Boulder’s History Department where she specializes in environmental, Indigenous, agricultural, and animal history.

February 25 – 6pm – Laura Arata – Race and the Wild West: Sarah Bickford, The Montana Vigilantes, and the Tourism of Decline, 1870-1930 (Sponsored by ARCHtrio). CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRESENTATION. Born a slave in eastern Tennessee, Sarah Bickford arrived in Montana Territory in the aftermath of the Civil War, and in the wake of a deadly episode of Vigilante violence that dramatically shaped the politics of Virginia City. After surviving an abusive marriage, a divorce, and the devastating loss of three children in the space of just a decade, Sarah remarried and entered a new chapter in her life in which she eventually became sole owner of the Virginia City Water Company and thus the first African American female public utilities owner in the nation. But it was another decision that imprinted her most lasting legacy on the town she called home for more than sixty years—the deliberate preservation of a key piece of Vigilante history and active promotion of tourism based on their legend of enforcing frontier justice. Known as “the Hangman’s Building” today, this monument to a famous quintuple lynching remains a top-draw tourist attraction because Sarah, an African American woman, had the foresight and determination to save it. Rather than shying away from what it represented, Sarah Bickford energetically promoted a version of Vigilante legend that left indelible impressions on the history of Montana. Laura J. Arata is Assistant Professor of History and Director of Public History at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Her research specializations include race and gender in the American West, popular and material culture, historic preservation, and oral history. Her publications have appeared in Montana: The Magazine of Western History and the Pacific Northwest Quarterly, and in edited collections on the Hanford History Project in Washington State. She discovered Sarah Bickford’s story while attending a Public History Field School in Virginia City; Race and the Wild West is her first monograph.

2020 Lecture Series

January 16 –  Andi Powers – The African- American Community of Empire, Wyoming, 1908 – 1920. Empire, Wyoming was a black homesteading community in eastern Wyoming that existed from 1908 until 1920. The community was short-lived, and residents were constantly faced with discrimination including segregation, an enduring local appetite for blackface minstrelsy, and the lynching of one of their residents. Ultimately, the promise of the Equality State failed to materialize for the black residents of Empire. Andi Powers was born and raised in Montana. She has earned a master’s degree in English from the University of Alaska as well as a graduate certificate in Native American Studies from Montana State University (MSU). She has a decade of experience teaching at the university level. Andi is currently a PhD candidate in American Studies at MSU. Her recent research focuses on performance of race, including redface and blackface, in the West.

February 20 – Dale Martin – The North Coast Limited, the Nightcrawler, and the Skidoo: A century of passenger trains and public transportation in Montana. One hundred years ago, public transportation – almost entirely by rail – reached hundreds of cities, towns, and smaller settlements in Montana. At present, only about forty cities and towns in the state have daily scheduled rail, bus, or air service for travelers. The presentation will first examine the early twentieth century, when dozens of daily passenger trains reached almost every county in the state, carrying people, express, U.S. Mail, cans of milk, and money. Following this there will be an overview and explanation of the many decades long decline of rail service, and intercity public transportation in general. It will conclude with remarks on the circumstances of public transportation in states, and Canadian provinces, like Montana, with small populations in large areas. Dale Martin is an instructor in MSU’s Department of History and Philosophy, and has recently focused on a course in the history of Montana and the West, the First World War, and the 20th century Middle East. He has ridden and watched trains from Anaconda to Alice Springs. (Sponsored by Montana Ntrak)

March 26 – The 19th Amendment: Expanding the Arc of the Suffrage Story – A Panel Discussion  Click here to view this presentation

May 21 – Lesley M. Gilmore – What’s the Story behind Bozeman’s Life of Montana Building? Click here to watch the presentation. Join preservation architect Lesley Gilmore as she relates how a Modernist temple came to be at a highly visible hillside setting at the edge of Bozeman. Gilmore will explain the land transfers, building move, insurance company investments and acquisitions, and design history of the Life of Montana Insurance Company building. She will also discuss the political strategies implemented to create this iconic building. Come share your knowledge of this edifice and add to the narrative.

June 25 – POSTPONED – Jennifer Jones – Victorian Mourning Clothing: A Study in Period Attire

July 23 – Crystal Alegria – The McDonald Sisters: Quiet Lives of Resilience. Click here to view the presentation.

August 27 – POSTPONED – John Russell – George Herendeen: Custer Scout from Bozeman

September 14 – POSTPONED to 2021 – James Dixon – The Emergence of Glacial Archaeology (Sponsored by MSU’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology)

October 8 – Online via Zoom, Click here to view the presentation. Michele Corriel – The Montana Modernists: Redefining “Western” Art Across the State (Sponsored by Vicky York) Though the examination of Place, Education, and Community a small group of Modernists in Montana broke through the Myth of the West to offer up an alternative way for Montanans to see themselves. These artists, Bill Stockton, Isabelle Johnson, Jessie Wilber, Frances Senska, Robert DeWeese, and Gennie DeWeese led by example, creating a strong like-minded community of artists, dramatists, philosophers, and others able to withstand the status quo of postwar society in the state. I will explore the artworks of these Modernists in order to understand how they portrayed this new Modern identity. Michele Corriel is a freelance art writer and author with a master’s degree in art history, and a PhD in American Studies/American Art. She enjoys engaging her poetic style as a basis for conveying the essence of the creative process in the visual arts. Her work can be seen both regionally and nationally. Michele has published four books and received a number of awards for her non-fiction as well as her poetry.

October 22 – Aaron Brien – Ishbinnaache Chikituuk: An Examination of a Crow War Shield at the Chicago Field Museum –  Click here to view the presentation. (Sponsored by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition). This presentation will be via Zoom. In 1903 the Chicago Field Museum collected crow war shields and few people have seen them since then. From the time of their absence, much knowledge of the crow shields has been lost. The point of this study is to examine and collect ethnography information to preserve the history of this little know Apsaalooke aspect. This study was completed by exploring existing ethnography and archival data, and interviewing several knowledgeable Apsaalooke elders. Brien has had the honor of viewing the shields on a number of occasions. In this presentation you will learn the importance and ritual use of the shields, and a view of the complex spiritual understanding of the Apsaalooke. Aaron Brien is a member of the Apsáalooke Nation, Big Lodge Clan, and child of the Whistling Water & Big Lodge Clan. He also is a member of the NightHawk Dance Society, his Apsaalooke name is Bachiakuashdaa/Goes To The Middle Of War. He was born in Sheridan, Wyoming, and was raised on the Crow Reservation’s Center Lodge (Reno) District. Brien studied at Salish Kootenai College and the University of Montana as an undergraduate and earned a master’s degree from the University of Montana’s Department of Anthropology. He currently serves as Native American Studies: Tribal Historic Preservation Faculty and Research Coordinator for Indigenous Research Center at Salish Kootenai College. He lives with his wife and three kids in Arlee, Montana.

December 8 – Quincy Balius – Petticoats and Pants: Women’s Work in the West. This presentation will be an online webinar via zoom. Click here to view the presentation (Sponsored by MSU’s American Studies Department). Petticoats and Pants will explore the role of women at work in the American West, particularly in unrecognized or ignored areas such as homemaking and domestic labor, through the Special Collections of Montana State University Library. It will utilize diaries, scrapbooks, letters, photographs, and other materials to examine the variety of hats that women wore, from gracious hostess to tough rancher to loving mother. The lecture will also discuss how women’s proximity to men in the workforce impacted Western suffragette movements. Quincy Balius is a third-year student at Montana State University majoring in history with dual minors in museum studies and women’s, gender and sexuality studies. She is in her third year at the Montana State University newspaper, The Exponent, and currently serves as the Opinion Editor. Balius is also in her third year working at MSU’s Archives and Special Collections, where she is currently employed as a Senior Student Assistant focusing in outreach and educational programming. She has researched with Professor Molly Todd in MSU’s Public History Lab and served internships with the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls and the Gallatin History Museum in Bozeman. Her current research is centered around the construction of Black and White womanhood in Montana during the postbellum period with a focus on differing understandings of respectability and proper positions for women within Western society.

2019 Lecture Series

All lectures at the Museum of the Rockies starting at 6pm

January 10 –  Douglas MacDonald – Before Yellowstone: 11,000 Years of Native Americans in Yellowstone National Park. Doug MacDonald, a professor of Anthropology at the University of Montana, will discuss what archaeological research into nearly 2,000 sites has revealed about the long history of human presence in what is now Yellowstone National Park. MacDonald will explain the significance of important areas such as Obsidian Cliff, where hunters obtained volcanic rock to make tools and for trade, and Yellowstone Lake, a traditional place for gathering edible plants. From Clovis points associated with mammoth hunting to stone circles marking the sites of tipi lodges, “Before Yellowstone” will bring to life a fascinating story of human occupation and use of this stunning landscape. Sponsored by The Greater Yellowstone Coalition

February 21 – Richard Brown – National Park Architecture and Fred Willson. Bozeman’s own architect Fred Willson (1877-1956) believed that “architecture was a form of public service; to make the things of daily life beautiful.”  During his career, he did just that.  His architectural vocabulary stretched from Art Deco, to Mediterranean revival, and to National Park Rustic Architecture – which became known simply as ‘Parkitecture.’  This unique architectural style, perhaps for the first time in the history of American architecture, became an accessory to nature.  This presentation explores the origin of Parkitecture and Fred Willson’s involvement in it. Sponsored by CTA Architects and Engineers

March 28 – Shane Doyle and John Zumpano –  “Exploring the Apsáalooke People and Stories of Crow Fair – The Tipi Capital of the World. For over a hundred years the Apsaalooke people have celebrated Crow Fair at Crow Agency MT. Originally started by a government agent as an agricultural fair, it slowly was transformed by the tribe into something more to their liking; a giant week long reunion of friends, family and visitors. Mile long daily horseback parades, day and night dancing contests, thrilling rodeos, Native veteran color guards, rousing drum groups, a vast tipi camp and a cornucopia of tribal regalia present a fascinating immersion in the lifestyle and traditions of Crow people. The presentation will explore this celebration of Northern Plains indigenous culture often called, “Tipi Capitol of the World” with John’s compelling photos and Shane’s insightful commentary and songs.

April 18 – Bonnie Lawrence Smith – Cry to Heaven: Golden Eagles and Thunderbirds in the Bighorn Basin. Here in the Plains Basin of North America, we find some of the most exceptional rock art in the Americas,” says Bonnie Lawrence-Smith, Curatorial Assistant of the Draper Natural History Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. She explains that—like populations everywhere—the early peoples of the Bighorn Basin wove stories as explanations for the natural world around them. This presentation focuses on explanations of raptors and birds of prey consistently depicted in rock art and found in several sites on both public and private lands. Bonnie proposes there is a connection “between ancient eagle (Aquila crysataetos) nests, Native American eagle traps, and thunderbird representations at these sites.

May 23 – Jill Makin – People and Place: the Seasonal Round in the Old North Corridor. The Old North Trail, running along Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front, was an indigenous transportation corridor central to an historic food system. Archaeologists are confident native people followed large game animals into this area between retreating ice sheets some 12,000 years ago. The unique topographic and botanical attributes of this windswept corridor created a vital landscape that nurtured native buffalo culture through the 19th century. As part of a larger indigenous environmental history, Jill Mackin’s research documents ancestral ties to this bioregion through foodways and examines the relationship between biodiversity and cultural diversity.

June 20 – Brad Hall – Indian Economics 101. Indian Economics 101 discusses the how the Blackfoot Confederacy’s economic influence over the Hudson Bay region perpetuated a unique condition for early non-indigenous traders to adapt and ultimately open the door for colonial and corporate interests to decide the economic fate of the tribes, whose best interests were not supported by their trustee, the U.S. Government. This analysis also includes a contemporary understanding of how historical trauma and other conditions experienced by the Blackfoot precipitated the current issues facing tribal nations, their remaining homelands, and the potential economic opportunities (and challenges) on the horizon that could bring back a sustainable, equitable economic future through self-determination and the exercise of the inherent tribal sovereignty they reserved for themselves through treaties with the U.S. Government. Sponsored by

July 18 – Katherine Seaton Squires – Finding a Place in Montana: The Post-Civil War Memoir of James Howard Lowell. Katherine Seaton Squires will speak to her experience of unearthing her great-great-grandfathers memoir, a firsthand account of his brutal journey west on a wagon train. She brings this tale to life, a memoir filled with colorful characters, narrow escapes and important historical events, such as the Baker Massacre.

August 15 – Kate Hampton – The Best Gift:  Montana’s Carnegie Libraries. Kate Hampton of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office will speak to her hot-off-the-press book, “The Best Gift: Montana’s Carnegie Libraries” revealing the history of these iconic libraries throughout Montana. She will delve into Bozeman’s own Carnegie library, giving the history of this monumental structure that sits silently on the corner of Bozeman and Mendenhall streets.

September 19 – Crystal Alegria – Symbolism in the Cemetery. Cemeteries are like outdoor museums, full of beauty, history, and symbolism. If we look close enough, the art engraved on the historic headstones can give us clues to the past. Crystal Alegria will lead you through the symbolism of Bozeman’s historic Sunset Hills Cemetery, focusing on a series of engraved headstones. She will de-code the symbolism, telling complex and fascinating stories of our town founders buried below. Sponsored by First Interstate Bank

November 21 – Judith Heilman and Cheryl Hendry – Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror Lynching in Montana Sponsored by Montana State University Department of History and Philosophy. Between the Civil War and World War Two, white mobs lynched thousandBs of African Americans in the United States.  While a majority of these violent, public acts of torture occurred in the Southern United States, the use of lynching as a form of terrorism was not limited to those states below the Mason-Dixon line.  Join Judith Heilman, Executive Director of the Montana Racial Equity Project, and Dr. Cheryl Hendry, Program Assistant of the Extreme History Project, as they uncover the history of racial terror lynchings here in Montana.  They will also discuss a joint effort between the Montana Racial Equity Project and the Extreme History Project to publicly recognize the victims of lynchings in Montana and begin a difficult, but necessary conversation that advances reconciliation.

2018 Extreme History Project Lecture Series

Lecture schedule finalJanuary 10 – People and Place: the Seasonal Round in the Old North Corridor

Jill Falcon Mackin (Anishinaabe: Ojibwe)

Abstract: The Old North Trail, running along Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front, was an indigenous transportation corridor central to an historic food system. Archaeologists are confident native people followed large game animals into this area between retreating ice sheets some 12,000 years ago. The unique topographic and botanical attributes of this windswept corridor created a vital landscape that nurtured native buffalo culture through the 19th century. As part of a larger indigenous environmental history, Jill Mackin’s research documents ancestral ties to this bioregion through foodways and examines the relationship between biodiversity and cultural diversity.

January 25 – People and Place: the Seasonal Round in the Old North Corridor

Jill Falcon Mackin (Anishinaabe: Ojibwe)

Abstract: The Old North Trail, running along Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front, was an indigenous transportation corridor central to an historic food system. Archaeologists are confident native people followed large game animals into this area between retreating ice sheets some 12,000 years ago. The unique topographic and botanical attributes of this windswept corridor created a vital landscape that nurtured native buffalo culture through the 19th century. As part of a larger indigenous environmental history, Jill Mackin’s research documents ancestral ties to this bioregion through foodways and examines the relationship between biodiversity and cultural diversity.

February 22 – Montana 1864-1889 by Ken Egan – Sponsored by Humanities Montana

Abstract: Join scholar and writer Ken Egan for a tour of Montana from 1864 to 1889. See how key historical figures such as Granville Stuart, James Fergus, Helen Clarke, Wilbur Sanders, Young Man Afraid of His Horses, and more change over time—and how Montana changes with them as it transforms from territory to state. Ken will have copies of his books Montana 1864 and Montana 1889 available for sale—all royalties support the programs and grants of Humanities Montana.

March 22 – The Archeology of the 130,000-year-old Cerutti Mastodon Site, San Diego, California by Steven R. Holen and Kathleen Holen Center for American Paleolithic Research – Sponsored by Metcalf Archaeological Consultants

Abstract: The Cerutti Mastodon site was carefully excavated by San Diego Natural History Museum paleontologists over a five-month period in 1992-1993. Multiple lines of evidence point to the fact that some early hominin used hammers and anvils to break the Cerutti Mastodon limb bones. The bone assemblage and associated cobbles are contained within a fine-grain silt/sand in a low-energy overbank deposit along a small creek. Evidence of hammerstone impacts on thick cortical bone shafts includes a large notch, cone flakes and bulbs of percussion. Fragments of impact-fractured limb bones are concentrated around two cobble anvils. One hammerstone shattered on impact and left refitting small pieces concentrated around one anvil. Use-wear evidence of stone-on-stone and stone-on-bone impact are present on the anvils and hammers. Anvil wear/polish present on two bone fragments is additional evidence of intentional hammerstone percussion. Experimental archaeological evidence supports these interpretations as does evidence of human breakage of proboscidean limb bones on several continents.  We do not know which hominin was present in California 130,000 years ago, however, we discuss the various possibilities.

 April 19 – Antiquities on Montana’s Public Lands: A History of Indians, Amateurs and Archaeologists by Nancy Mahoney – Sponsored by Hope Archaeology, Inc.

Abstract – American archaeology emerged during the late nineteenth century, amidst enduring disagreements over access to the public domain, the nature of property rights, and the meaning of national heritage, all of which played out within the social, political and environmental context of the rural West. Historical tensions surrounding race and class within this region informed the construction of federal antiquities laws and transformed indigenous cultural remains into the most highly restricted resource within the public domain. This history is particularly complicated within the context of the Northern Plains, a region that is both the territorial homeland of once-nomadic Plains tribes, and a last frontier of Euro-American settlement; it is a region that has remained contested terrain longer than any other within the contiguous United States. This fact, coupled with the delayed entrance of professional archaeologists into Montana, sowed the seeds of opposition and misunderstanding among the region’s three major stakeholders: Native American tribes, resident amateurs, and career archaeologists. This presentation explores both the underlying cultural history of archaeological practice in Montana, as well as more recent trends in collaboration and stewardship that effectively incorporate the broader concerns of both descendant and resident communities.

May 17 – The Story Cattle Drive by John Russell

Abstract Nelson Story’s prominence in Bozeman and southwest Montana emanated from his historic 1866 cattle drive from Texas to the Yellowstone Valley. John Russell discusses the drive, and how Story and his men overcame opposition from Kansas Jayhawkers, the U.S. Army, and the Sioux Nation to bring 1,000 head of longhorns into Montana territory.

June 28 – Hazel Hunkins of Billings: Protesting at the White House, 1917-1919 by Kevin Kooistra – Sponsored by CTA Architects and Engineers

Abstract: Denied the opportunity to work in a local chemistry lab because of her gender, Billings native Hazel Hunkins promptly joined the national fight for women’s suffrage. In his presentation, Hazel Hunkins of Billings: Protesting at the White House, 1917-1919, Western Heritage Center Director Kevin Koostra shares the story of this gritty woman who remained undeterred even after national resentment led to arrest and recrimination for Hunkins and her fellow protestors.

July 26 – Montana’s Pioneer Jewish Communities by Ellen Baumler – Sponsored by the David Nathan Meyerson Foundation

Abstract: Jewish pioneers from Germany, Prussia, Austria and Poland as well as New York and Chicago came west on the heels of the gold rush. Opportunity drew these enthusiastic adventurers to new mining settlements where business as well as religious beliefs brought them together. Jews set up the first businesses at Bannack, Alder Gulch and at most of the smaller mining boomtowns. Jews seized these entrepreneurial opportunities and became miners, barbers, tailors, jewelers, bankers, attorneys, and cattlemen. But it was especially in the roles of merchant and provider that offered a stepping stone for these enterprising men—many of them immigrants from poor villages—to gain economic stability and civic status in a single generation. Without rabbis or synagogues, these early pioneers established benevolent societies, maintained holidays and traditions, and planted the roots of Judaism in Montana. As significant contributors to their adopted communities, their extraordinary legacy survives in landmarks that include Helena’s 1891 Temple Emanu-El, the first synagogue built between St. Paul and Portland; the National Landmark home of Henry Jacobs, Butte’s first mayor; and Solomon Content’s 1864 business block, today the centerpiece of the Virginia City National Historic Landmark.

August 30 – Helen McAuslan, Modern Medium: Art and Architecture in Twentieth-Century Bozeman by Will Wright

Abstract: Abstract: This presentation focuses on the life and home of abstract painter Helen McAuslan, using both to understand the connections between art and architecture within the context of Montana’s modernist movement. A common thread for McAuslan’s version of “modernism” was her rejection of a traditional past in hope for a more liberated future. If the nineteenth-century West was remembered through the works of male artists such as Charles Russell and Frederic Remington, then the twentieth-century West should be known through the contributions of female artists like McAuslan.

 September 27 – Title: Alcohol, Corsets, and the Vote: A Conversation with Mary Long Alderson by Anne Foster – Sponsored by Humanities Montana

Abstract: In celebration of the Montana women’s suffrage centennial, join suffragette, temperance worker, dress reformer, and journalist Mary Long Alderson for a conversation. Chairwoman of the Montana Floral Emblem campaign, president of the Montana Christian Temperance Union, and a leader in the Montana Woman Suffrage Association, Mrs. Alderson is an eloquent and passionate speaker. Drawing from her own editorials and other writings, she explains the benefits of votes for women as well as the evils of drink and tight lacing.

 October 11 – Title: Warm Springs are for Healing: Montana’s Hospital for the Insane by Lesley M. Gilmore

Abstract: Since its establishment in 1875, the campus at Warm Springs has been put to use towards the palliative treatment of Montana’s insane population. The supervisors transformed what had been a health resort into a hospital dedicated to the care of the “mentally deficient wards” of the state. The changes to the campus reflect the changing trends in mental health care over the years. This was evident in the type, style, and size of buildings. The buildings were like those of many other state institutions – colleges, universities, institute for the deaf and dumb, etc. – and designed by many of the same architects. Warm Springs was, however, more comprehensive in that it also was self-sufficient for much of its history, with manufacturing and farming considered part of the care for the insane. Work programs were part of the rehabilitation therapy until the 1960s, when they were considered a form of abuse. These programs provided Warm Springs with concrete block and construction thereof, milk, eggs, grains, vegetables, and meat. The property also has a cemetery. The bucolic setting was typical of state mental institutions, yet has the added distinction of being based at the Warm Springs Mound, a calcite geothermal formation like that of the Elephant Mound in Mammoth Hot Springs of Yellowstone National Park. This mound was earlier a sacred site for the indigenous population and is now again respected (as a restricted National Register property) for its significance to the many Native American tribes who used the area during late prehistoric and historic times. The perceived curative effect of the thermal properties was the basis for locating first the resort and then the hospital there. Originally, the 180-degree water was distributed to all the hospital buildings. The Warm Springs hospital still focuses – in reduced capacity since distributed clinical care was instituted in the 1960s – on individualized recovery programs to help patients transition back into to the community. The hospital has served the state for over 140 years and remains the only public psychiatric hospital in the state.

 November 15 – Superfunded: Recreating Nature in a Postindustrial West by Jennifer Dunn

Abstract: The EPA Superfund program was established in 1980 and over 1,700 locations have been placed on the National Priorities List (NPL).  Superfund sites cover a vast array of environmental damages that contaminate the land and impact the health of citizens across the nation.  Superfund’s goal is to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated waste sites.  Former mining communities in the Intermountain West were built on a premise of wealth and power fortified by resource extraction.  Mining and smelting generated incredible wealth as well as incredible waste.  The Superfund solution to this waste reveal how governments, communities, and individual perceive and respond to the material consequences of our capitalist and industrial decisions.

2017 Extreme History Project Lecture Series

lecture series schedule

Click on poster to link to presentation video


Click on poster to link to presentation video

Crystal's Poster

Click on Poster to link to Presentation Video

Regenerating teh Rez

2017 Presentations:

All lectures begin at 6pm in the Hager Auditorium at the Museum of the Rockies.

January 19 – Meg Singer – Regenerating the Rez: Breaking Down the Misconceptions of Reservations, Sovereignty and Identity . Sponsored by the Montana Racial Equity Project. To view this lecture on Facebook, click here.

February 16 – Crystal Alegria – The Last Will and Testament of Lizzie Williams; An African American Entrepreneur in 1870s Bozeman. Sponsored by CTA Architects and Engineers. To view this lecture on Facebook, click hereWith the end of the Civil War in 1865, African Americans joined the westward migration, hoping for a better life and opportunity in the West. We will explore the life of Lizzie Williams, An African American business woman who sought refuge in Bozeman during the 1870s. We will explore historic documents, including Lizzie’s last Will and Testament to better understand her life and catch a rare glimpse of early Bozeman through the lens of this African American woman.

March 9 – John Russell – John Colter: Hunter, Trapper, Long Distance Runner. Sponsored by Big Sky Wind DrinkersJohn Colter craved adventure, and when he signed on with the Lewis and Clark Expedition for five dollars a month, he got his fair share of it – and then some. Colter is best known for his infamous run from Blackfeet Indians near the Three Forks in 1808, but his role with the Corps of Discovery, the northwest fur trade, and early explorations of what is now Yellowstone National Park are just as important. Local broadcaster/historian John Russell will give an overview of Colter’s exciting, albeit brief life on March 9th at the Museum of the Rockies.

April 27 – MSU Faculty and Students – Recovering History: Salvage Archaeology at Fort Ellis

May 25 – Shane Doyle – Cultural Geography of Medicine Wheel Country. Sponsored by Victoria York. The Northern Plains region of North America, widely regarded for its sublime combination of majestic mountain ranges and sweeping prairies and stunning endless blue skies, is truly Medicine Wheel Country.  All of the climatic and environmental elements of this most grand and extreme landscape have imbued human cultural values and societal norms for well over 13,000 years. The essential characteristics of the Medicine Wheel Country have endured beyond colonization and the manifestations remain evident and relevant today; embodied in the ancient and commonly practiced  ceremonies of the Sundance and give-away, and reflected in mainstream secular institutions like Montana’s 1972 Constitution and contemporary stream access laws.  Dr. Shane Doyle, Apsaalooke, will comment on the distinguishing cultural voices and sensibilities that have endured under the Big Sky, and within the circle of community. 

August 17 – Mark Johnson – Becoming Chinese in Montana: Political Activism amongst Montana’s Historic Chinese Communities. That Montana had a large Chinese population in the late-19th century is well known. However, most analysis of this community focuses solely on their challenges and contributions in the American West, paying little attention to the transnational nature of the Chinese experience. By understanding Montana’s Chinese pioneers through a global lens they can be seen as active and engaged participants who used the skills gained through their time in the American West to work for self-improvement and to strengthen a severely weakened China they had temporarily left but never forgotten. 

September 21 – Toby Day – What Secrets do 100+ Year-Old Apple Trees Hold? Find Out through MSU’s Montana Heritage Orchard Program

October 26 – Anthony Wood – Race and Ruination: The Exodus of Montana’s African American Community. In 1910, Montana’s African American population constituted a vibrant community—seemingly on the precipice of growth and prosperity.  By 1920, however, that growth faltered and the signs of decline were evident. Over the next decade the population of the black community atrophied to nearly half its numbers from 1910, never again to recover. In researching numerous family and individual histories over the last three years, a key point of ambiguity in many African American narratives centers on why they left Montana. Leading up to the tumultuous social, economic, and environmental conditions that griped the state starting in the late 1910s, new and unique western structures of racism were already in place. Consequently, this produced disproportionate hardships and bleak conditions for the black community. This lecture will explore the history of black Montanans and their experiences in the early twentieth century. Through stories about the rise and fall of black night clubs in Helena, Buffalo Soldiers, homesteaders, unions, and other narratives in Montana’s history, we will come to a better understanding about the historical experiences of our fellow Montanans, and why so many chose to leave. 

November 16 – Rob Briwa – Exploring the Crossroads of Heritage and Highway Maps in the Last Best Place

2016 Presentations:

All lectures begin at 6pm in the Hager Auditorium at the Museum of the Rockies.

March 22 – Dr. Larry Todd – Archaeology in the Land of Fire and Ice

March 23 – Crystal Alegria and Marsha Fulton – Extreme History’s Excellent Adventure in the National Archives

April 21 – Dr. Craig Lee –Ice Patch Archaeology at the Crossroads of Culture and Climate Change in the Greater Yellowstone Area

April 25 – Dr. Doug MacDonald – Yellowstone’s Obsidian Cliff: Celebrating 20 years as a National Historic Landmark.

May 12  – Dr. Mike Neeley – The Beaucoup Site: Excavations at a Bison Kill in Northeast Montana

August 25 – Dr. Tom Rust – “My Duties . . . Are Not So Clearly Laid Down…”:  The Problems of Command on the Montana Frontier

September 12 – Dr. Janet Ore – Building Community through Historic Preservation.

October 26 – C. Riley Auge’ – Sensing the Difference: The historical association of sensory elements with cultural “otherness”

2015 and earlier talks below

Blood on the Marias: The Baker Massacre

Our second half of the year schedule for lecturesUnearthing the Past at the Crossroads of Culture Chinese in Montana: Our Forgotten Pioneers with Ellen Baumler Thursday, May 21st at 6pm in the Hager Auditorium at the Museum of the Rockiesposter

The Extreme History Project Lecture Series at the Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman Montana, 2014

The Extreme History Project presents a monthly lecture series at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman Montana

Fighting for Women's Rights, Hazel Hunkins Hallinan

The Extreme History Project Presents Mirror Mirror on the Wall with Dr. Riley Auge

The Extreme History Project Presents I Do: A Cultural History of Montana Weddings with Martha Kohl

The Extreme History Project and the Museum of the Rockies present I Do: A Cultural History of Montana Weddings with Martha Kohl


Betsy Watry Poster

Dr. Shane Doyle


Technology reveals secrets on Fort Parker's Surface

The Extreme History Project Lecture Series at the Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman Montana, 2014
A big thanks to all our speakers from 2012!! Look for us on January 10th when we start our 2013 Lecture Series at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman! See you then!

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  1. Pam Poulsen says:

    Looking for your 2015-2016 Lecture Series Schedule. Is it posted some other plave?

  2. www.transformsiberia.com says:

    So, are these events in 2016? Or, are these 2015 events?

    • These are events from 2015 but we will be posting our upcoming 2016 lectures soon. Our first lecture this year is on March 23, 6pm, at the Museum of the Rockies titled, “Extreme History’s Excellent Adventure; Finding Fort Parker in the National Archives.” Hope you can join us.

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