The new Montana Heritage Center is taking shape in Helena’s Capitol Complex, thanks in part to sizeable donations from Montana Historical Society supporters. Recent substantial gifts totaling $525,000 are nudging the Montana Historical Society toward its $15 million private fundraising goal for construction of the new center and updates to the existing MHS building.
When construction is completed 2024, it will nearly double the size of the existing Montana Historical Society facility, with 66,000 square feet of new space, plus exterior and interior renovations.
Bruce Ennis and Maggie Davis of Kalispell are among those who made a significant donation recently, after meeting with MHS Director Molly Kruckenberg and Development Officer Ginny Sullivan. Both Ennis and Davis are well versed in historical society activities and challenges. Ennis sat on the MHS Board of Trustees for nine years, and Davis previously volunteered as a docent at museum.
“In about 400 years the human experience in what is now Montana changed dramatically,” Davis said. “From the introduction of the horse to today’s legislature, the Society has preserved artifacts, documents, cultural hallmarks, and more. MHS is a fantastic resource for us all.”
The family of longtime museum supporters Bob and Genevieve Morgan contributed $115,000 in their honor. Bob Morgan, a noted artist from Helena, was an MHS museum curator and acting director, and served on the Board of Trustees. His wife, Gen, also was an avid supporter of MHS.
“The entire Morgan family is thrilled to honor our parents’ and grandparents’ memory and legacy with this gift,” said the couple’s son, Bob Morgan. “The preservation and presentation of Montana’s history and culture was paramount to them. They would be delighted to see this endeavor moving forward.”
Another substantial donation of $100,000 came from Stockman Bank, which is Montana’s largest family-owned community bank, with 36 full-service locations across the Treasure State.
“It’s important that we help honor and preserve our great state’s history, not only for us but for future generations,” said Bill Coffee, the bank’s chief executive officer. Two additional gifts totaling $60,000 also were received.
The Montana Historical Society is committed to raising $15 million for the Heritage Center construction and updates to its current historic building, and has already amassed nearly $7 million. The state’s lodging facility use tax will provide an additional $41 million, and a $7 million bond from 2005 is contributing to the project.
“We can’t thank everyone enough for their dedication in making the Montana Heritage Center a reality,” Kruckenberg said. “I look out my window and see progress every day, due in large part to our supporters.”
More information on the project is available at MontanasMuseum.org.