20/20 Vision: Looking Clearly at the Past

Montana Historical Society hosts free virtual history conference Sept. 3-Oct. 20

New & Notable

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has precluded travel and large-scale gatherings, the Montana Historical Society’s 47th state history conference, 20/20 Vision: Looking Clearly at the Past, will be held online during a two-month period. The exciting programs range from a presentation on the 1779-1784 smallpox pandemic to a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum’s collection.

Dave Piper and Gus McLeod surveying the "Richest Hill on Earth," ca. 1943
Dave Piper and Gus McLeod surveying the “Richest Hill on Earth,” ca. 1943Photo © Montana Historical Society

This free conference is supported by funding from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation.

Much of the program will be posted online for later viewing and Zoom links to all sessions will be posted on the MHS website before the virtual conference beings. Visit mhs.mt.gov/education/ConferencesWorkshops for links and additional information.

The lineup originally planned for the 2020 conference has been rescheduled for Sept. 23-25, 2021, at the Copper King Conference Center in Butte.
“Butte is just too unique of a place to capture virtually,” MHS director Bruce Whittenberg noted. “So, we will wait until we can gather in person to present the lineup we had originally planned for the Mining City this fall. Hopefully, all our speakers will still be able to join us, and we will attract more attendees than ever next year.”

Sessions for this year’s 20/20 Vision conference include:

  • “Good Beer Here: An Interactive Exhibit Tour” on Thursday, Sept. 3 at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Montana History Pub Trivia Contest at 8 p.m.
  • “Making Your Mark: 145 Years of Recording Montana Brands” on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 4 p.m., followed by “Picturing Political Power: Images in the Women’s Suffrage Movement” at 6:30 p.m.
  • “A Wild Land Ethic: The History of Wilderness in Montana,” Saturday, Sept. 12 at 1:30 p.m.
  • “Shakespeare in Montana,” Thursday, Sept. 17 at 6:30 p.m.
  • “The Great Smallpox Pandemic of 1779-1784,” Thursday, Sept. 24 at 6:30 p.m.
  • “Appropriate, Curious and Rare: Treasures from the Collection,” Saturday, Sept. 26 at 10:30 a.m.
  • “Collections Care: When Disaster Strikes, Plan to Strike Back,” Tuesday, Oct. 13 and 20 at 1 p.m.

This year’s educators’ workshops include two programs:

  • Friday, Aug. 7 at 4 p.m.: “Native Knowledge 360 Degrees and Montana Essential Understandings: More Complete Narratives About Native Americans” with Colleen Call Smith of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian
  • Friday, Aug. 14 at 4 p.m.: “Historical Thinking and Civic Education” with Sam Wineburg of Stanford University