Museums Association of Montana

MAM strives to strengthen all of Montana's Museums

Conference Speakers


KellyAnne Terry 

KellyAnne is the Chair of the City Commission of Lewistown, MT. She grew up in the Bears Paw Mountains of North Central Montana on a horse and cattle ranch and went to a one room schoolhouse until 5th grade. Moving to Lewistown with her husband and two children in 2007, KellyAnne has served as the Lewistown Public Library Director and currently manages both The Historic Calvert Hotel and The B&B Motel. KellyAnne has been involved in many civic projects, state and national boards, as well as leadership programs and development across Montana. She currently serves on the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame Board in conjunction with the C.M. Russell Museum, the Montana Historic Preservation Board, and is the Chair of the Ranching Heritage Committee and Hall of Fame Board for the American Quarter Horse Association in Amarillo, TX. KellyAnne loves history, gardening, hound dogs, reading, and paddleboarding.

Chris La Tray 

La Tray is a Métis storyteller and an enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians. He is the author of One-Sentence Journal: Short Poems and Essays from the World at Large. His next book, Becoming Little Shell will be published by Milkweed Editions in 2024.

Molly Kruckenberg 

Molly Kruckenberg is the Director of the Montana Historical Society. She studied history as an undergraduate and completed a graduate degree in library science. She began work with the MTHS in 1999 and moved to the role of Director in 2020, after spending six years as an archivist and fifteen years as manager of the library and archives.


M. Lynn Barnes, Ph.D. 

M. Lynn Barnes, Ph.D., is a dress historian with a research and academic emphasis on Gilded Age fashions and textiles, 1870-1920. She also has an interest in examining the social and material culture of specific time periods as expressed in maritime fashions and the use of textiles and fabrics in ship and yacht interiors. Of particular interest to Dr. Barnes are the private luxury yachts of the Gilded Age, the social customs that accompanied their use and display, and their prominence in a distinct period of American culture. Dr. Barnes holds a master’s degree in international trade and quality perception of outsourced apparel from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in historic dress with an emphasis on the interiors of luxury yachts of the Gilded Age. She has held faculty positions at Bluffton University, Eastern Kentucky University and West Virginia University. She is currently a dress history and maritime history consultant with several clients, and continues to have a fashion design and music studio. Dr. Barnes is also involved with the presentation of historic fashion shows that emphasize maritime textiles and clothing, and first person interpretations of history figures. She frequently uses period music, art, technology and politics as methods of illustrating the social setting of dress and textiles. Examples of her first-person interpretations include the portrayal of Mary Jane Hayner on her voyage to Europe aboard the Lusitania for the centennial celebration of the Troy-Hayner home and Mary Todd Lincoln in full mourning costume that accompanied the Lincoln Funeral Train. She recently presented, in first-person, High Tea aboard the Titanic and Dinner on the Hiawatha, 1947-1969 with an emphasis on Montana history.

Kathy Barton

Active with MAM since her days as the Curator of Yellowstone County Museum in Billings, Kathy has most recently served two years on MAM's Board of Directors as Secretary before stepping down to take up her new role as MAM's Interim Executive Director. Growing up in Great Falls, her interest in museums was sparked by summers spent at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and C.M. Russell Museum. With a Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology and German, Kathy's museum career began as an Exhibit Cleaner and later Collections Inventory Assistant for Mackinac State Historic Parks in Northern Michigan. She later followed her heart back to Montana to curate the Yellowstone County Museum. Not limited to museums, Kathy's role in membership and gift shop development in 5 years as Guest Services Manager at ZooMontana brings fresh perspective to her leadership at MAM. When not serving Montana's museums, Kathy can be found at the dog park or near a body of water.

David Colamaria  

Dave Colamaria is the Digital Historian and Archivist for the Montana History Portal of the State Library. He has a wealth of experience in both the history and data fields. He spent over a decade working for and partnered with the U.S. Navy's official history command as a Photo Archivist and Digital Historian. He has experience working with physical collections, as well as building and maintaining online content management systems and websites for history organizations. He has a Master's Degree in History from George Mason University, as well as certification through the Western Archives Institute. He is a co-author of the book "The War in Cebu" which examines the Japanese invasion and subsequent liberation of the Philippine island of Cebu during World War II. The other focus of Dave's career has been data analysis, including work for the Montana Highway Patrol, Montana Department of Transportation, and a number of private sector companies.

Jordan Conley 

Jordan Conley started in 2023 as the Montana Historic Preservation Grant Program specialist. Previously, Jordan worked at Downtown Helena, Inc. as Operations Director. While there she successfully planned community events and collaborated with stakeholders and partners to enhance the vibrancy and vitality of downtown Helena. Jordan has a PhD in Religious Studies from Boston University, where she focused on archaeology and material culture. She also holds a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard Divinity School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Puget Sound.

Cory Coverdell  

Cory Coverdell serves as the Executive Director at the Montana Dinosaur Center, bringing with him a wealth of experience in the field of paleontology. His journey, rooted in Montana’s rich fossil history, spans over two decades, marking him as a knowledgeable and dedicated figure in the study of ancient life. Growing up in Montana played a crucial role in shaping his career path. In a state known for its rich fossil history, Cory's interest in paleontology was sparked at a young age. His childhood was marked by frequent visits to local fossil sites and a growing curiosity about the prehistoric world. This connection to Montana's natural heritage not only nurtured his passion but also laid a strong foundation for his future endeavors in the field. Cory’s love of the Natural world led him to Montana State University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Geology. His time at the university was marked by a deep engagement with the geological sciences, providing him with a robust foundation in the principles of earth science and paleobiology. The academic environment at Montana State University not only broadened his understanding but also honed his skills in fossil identification and preservation. This formal education was a pivotal step in cementing his career as a professional in paleontology. For 15 years, Cory has been preparing fossils and teaching fossil preparation at the Montana Dinosaur Center. His role includes the careful handling and preparation of various fossils, a task he has managed successfully within the constraints of a limited budget. This experience has not only demonstrated his skill in fossil preparation but also his ability to efficiently utilize resources. His work has contributed to both the advancement of scientific knowledge and public education regarding Montana's paleontological heritage. Cory's practical approach in these challenging conditions highlights his commitment and efficiency in his field. Cory Coverdell's journey from a curious child in Montana to the Executive Director of the Montana Dinosaur Center is a story of passion, dedication, and resilience. His 25 + years in both the academic and practical aspects of paleontology, coupled with his innovative approach to working within budget constraints, make him a valuable asset to the scientific community. As he takes the stage at the Museum Association of Montana's annual conference, his insights and experiences are not just a reflection of his personal journey, but also a beacon of inspiration for current and future paleontologists.

David Cunningham 

David is the Kären and Jay Abbe Director of American Prairie’s National Discovery Center in Lewistown, Montana. He is responsible for providing leadership for the Center, ensuring an exceptional visitor experience, and developing educational programming that aligns with American Prairie’s mission. He holds a Master’s in History from Missouri State University in Springfield and a BA in History from Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. Over the last 20 plus years, David served as Executive Director of museums in western Oklahoma, Taos, New Mexico, and most recently, Meeteetse, Wyoming. He also served three terms on the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund Board from 2014 to 2023, following appointments by Governors Matt Mead and Mark Gordon. David still maintains his home in Meeteetse, while living and working in Montana for American Prairie.

Kayla de la Ossa 

Kayla de la Ossa is the Executive Director of the Schoolhouse History & Art Center, located in Colstrip, MT. Hired in 2019 as Education Director, she has been in the leadership role at SHAC since 2021. Kayla also serves as Secretary of the Montana Art Gallery Directors Association. Originally from Central Montana, Kayla relocated to the Eastern part of the state to pursue a career in the arts. She is passionate about rural arts education and dedicates much of her time to creating a community based on the idea that art should and can be accessible to everyone. Furthermore, Kayla believes in working toward the goal of removing barriers between museums and individuals to create environments wherein people feel accepted and free of expectation.

Galen Dreger  

Galen Dreger grew up in San Jose California, the epicenter of Silicon Valley. Early on she decided that tech was not for her and escaped to San Luis Obispo to study Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration at Cal Poly in 2018. Upon graduating in the summer of 2020, she found very few jobs in the tourism field due to the onset of the pandemic. However, she was able to score a job in park maintenance at a local regional park, thus beginning her career in Parks. Her experience in this position eventually helped her land a position with California State Parks as a guide at Monterey State Historic Park. She currently serves as the AmeriCorps VISTA member at Travelers’ Rest Connection, the non-profit partner of Travelers’ Rest State Park. There she builds organizational capacity through grant writing, fundraising, event planning, and more. Throughout her career, Galen has earned certifications as a California Naturalist, a Climate Steward, and an interpretive guide. Her experience in both the government sphere and the non-profit sphere of State Parks has given her a comprehensive perspective regarding the communication challenges and opportunities between the two.

Christopher "Sean" Dudley 

Special Agent Christopher S. Dudley is a member of the FBI’s Rapid Deployment Art Crime Team (ACT), and is currently assigned to the Salt Lake City Division, Helena Montana Resident Agency. His domestic area of responsibility for the team includes Montana, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, the Dakotas, and Minnesota. While his investigative and liaison responsibilities include the full scope of art and cultural property-related violations, he has a particular interest in artists of the American West, and the preservation of art and artifacts which document our American history and cultural heritage. SA Dudley is a former military officer, having served in both the United States Army and the United States Navy prior to joining the FBI in 2009. He is a 1996 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he studied International and Strategic History and Systems Engineering. Prior to his assignment to Helena, he served in the FBI’s Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis Divisions, where he investigated International Terrorism, fugitive matters, and Indian Country violent crime.

Mackenzie Espeland 

Mackenzie Espeland is the Community and Economic Vitality Supervisor with the Montana Department of Commerce. In this role, she oversees the Montana Main Street Program, Montana Historic Preservation Grant Program, and the Community Development Block Grants for Economic Development. These programs revitalize downtowns, plan community goals, rehabilitate historic structures, and assist organizations through state and federal funding. Before joining Commerce in 2018, Mackenzie previously worked as an Archaeological Surveyor cataloging historic sites and interned with a historic non-profit to further organizational capacity. She has a B.A. in Anthropology and a Master's degree in Public Administration from Montana State University.

Samantha French  

Samantha (Sam) French is the Executive Director of Blaine County Museum in Chinook, Montana. She grew up on Montana’s Hi-Line, earned her B.A. in History from Carroll College in 2016, and her M.A. in History of Art from University of Bristol in 2019. Sam just completed her fifth year as executive director of Blaine County Museum in Chinook, and her first year as a MAM board member. Much of her time at BCM has been spent getting the local community re-engaged with their museum. As a strategy for attracting locals on a regular basis, Sam has worked with both Carter County Museum in Ekalaka and the Western Heritage Center in Billings to exhibit traveling displays at BCM, and she has also curated temporary exhibits in-house. Most recently, BCM concluded a speaker series in collaboration with the Chinook Senior Center, highlighting the knowledge of Blaine County historians and educators.

Cecelia Gavinsky 

Cecelia Gavinsky is the collections manager at the Western Heritage Center (WHC) of Billings, MT. A Billings, Montana native, Cecelia obtained a master’s degree in art history with a concentration in museum studies from the University of Denver. She has worked at the WHC for eight years, presenting lectures and tours throughout her career. She earned a certificate in interpretation through the National Association for Interpretation in 2020. Her recent projects include Evelyn Cameron: Pioneering Wildlife Photographer, Sewn Together: Stories from the Museum’s Clothing Collection, and The Photography of Larry Mayer.

In addition to the many hats she's worn at the WHC since 2016, she has been a 200 RTD certified yoga instructor since 2018. She has practiced yoga since middle school and continued her passion through adulthood by becoming the owner of YouGotMe Yoga. Cecelia loves to share the importance of centering yourself through yoga and applying lessons from the mat into the workplace.

Lee Hall  

Lee Hall began volunteering with Museum of the Rockies as a high school student in 2000, and in 2006 was hired as a seasonal MOR crew chief while attending Montana State University. While there he also managed the MSU fossil preparation lab and graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Earth Sciences – Paleontology. Lee was hired as a mitigation paleontologist by SWCA, Inc. of Pasadena, CA and spent the next four years recovering fossils from construction sites in the Mojave and Sonora deserts, writing technical reports, and managing a small fossil preparation lab in the Pasadena office. In 2015 he began working as a preparator for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in Ohio. While with CMNH, he conducted fieldwork in Ohio, Canada, Montana, and Mongolia, and in 2020 completed a major renovation of the fossil preparation lab. Shortly afterward he returned to MOR where he now serves as the Paleontology Lab and Field Manager. Lee’s research background includes sauropod dinosaur claw function and trackways, pathologies and face biting in the giant armored fish Dunkleosteus terrelli, tooth morphology of Jurassic dinosaurs from Ethiopia, and taphonomy of Tyrannosaurus rex. He is the former President of the Association of Materials and Methods in Paleontology (2020 - 2022), and his current focus is paleontology lab techniques and fieldwork methodology.

Austin Haney  

A life-long North-Central Montanan and University of Montana graduate, Austin has worked the last several years as an historical and cultural interpreter with the National Park Service and the Blaine County Museum. He has been a guest speaker and volunteer with many organizations across the state, including Montana State Parks, the Lewis and Clark Foundation, Humanities Montana, and many more. He is passionate about local people, places, and their stories, and loves sharing them with others. When not in the museum, you can find him making hats or exploring historic and natural spaces across Montana, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.

Lauren Hunley 

Lauren E. Hunley has spent nearly 20 years in the museum field. Earning her Master of Arts in Learning & Visitor Services in Museums and Galleries through Leicester University in England, she’s worked for both small museums and national museum service organizations. She is the author of 101 Museum Programs on a Shoestring Budget and has presented at numerous museum conferences. She is currently the Community Historian at the Western Heritage Center in Billings, Montana, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Mountain-Plains Museums Association and the Museums Association of Montana. Her recent projects include Conquering Diseases of the Past, Saints & Sinners: Women Breaking Tradition, and Baá Hawassiio & Ènomóhtåhéseh: Healthcare on the Crow & Northern Cheyenne Reservations. Her work was instrumental in the Western Heritage Center receiving the 2021 Mountain Plains Museums Association’s Leadership & Innovation Award and the Mountain Plains Museums Association Education Committee’s 2021 Award for Excellence in Programming for the joint Moss Mansion/Western Heritage Center Youth Volunteer Program. Baá Hawassiio & Ènomóhtåhéseh: Healthcare on the Crow & Northern Cheyenne Reservation further won recognition in 2022 for professional accomplishment for a new exhibition for the Museums Association of Montana’s. Her current project involves the multi-year Communities with Disabilities Oral History project.

Matt Lautzenheiser 

He attended Hiram College earning a B.A. in History and the University of Akron where he earned his Master’s Degree also in History.  Following completion of his M.A. at Akron, he was hired as the Site Historian at Hale Farm and Village in Bath, Ohio.  Hale Farm and Village is a living history site that is part of the larger Western Reserve Historical Society centered in Cleveland, Ohio.  In 2005, Lautzenheiser was hired as the Executive Director at the Dover Historical Society.  The Dover Historical Society operates the J.E. Reeves Victorian Home.  The museum interprets the home, Reeves family, and local history of rural Tuscarawas County, Ohio.  In 2014, Lautzenheiser moved to Missoula, MT where he became the Executive Director of the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula.  The Historical Museum interprets the history of Missoula County, the forest products industry, Fort Missoula, and the Alien Detention Center that once held over 2200 foreign nationals during WWII.  The museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums, one of only six museums in the state of Montana with this distinction.

Ashleigh McCann 

Ashleigh McCann is the Collections Curator at the Cascade County Historical Society/The History Museum (THM) in Great Falls, Montana (2017-present). She received her bachelor’s degree in painting and drawing from BYU-Idaho in 2016 and has worked as an art educator for the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art (PGSMOA) in Great Falls since 2013. An internship in museum collections at PGSMOA led her to her current position, where she completed a grant project rehousing THM’s collection of quilted textiles in 2020.

Bruce Mihelish  

Bruce grew up in historic Helena. The Gates of the Mountains was his family summer retreat. As a young lad he was inspired by local story tellers who shared the adventures of Lewis and Clark. He received his degree at Montana State and embarked on a 40-year insurance and real estate career. Bruce has remained in western Montana, never straying too far from the trail. His wife Pam is a 4th generation rancher from the Dearborn. She brought horses into their lives. Over the years, Bruce merged these two passions. They ground proofed many sections of the Lewis and Clark trail between St. Louis and Astoria traveling by foot, raft, kayak, canoe, four-wheel drive, and horseback. The Lolo, White Cliffs, and Gates rate as their favorite treks. This story became a good excuse to get out, explore, learn, and share the experience with others. Following retirement, Bruce volunteered at Travelers Rest State Park in Lolo. Bruce earned a Certificate of Interpretation and became actively involved in tours and speaking for Lewis and Clark historical organizations. He was chosen “State Parks Volunteer of the Year” in 2014 and has also been recognized as “Volunteer of the Year” by the friend’s group, Travelers’ Rest Connection, in 2019. His expedition stories center around Missoula and the Corp’s 407-mile journey through the Bitterroot Mountains.

Melissa Rost  

Melissa Rost has five years of experience in the museum industry and has served on the MAM Board for a year and a half. Her responsibilities at O’Fallon Historical Museum in Baker are wide-ranging, but with a BA in Education and a lifetime of youth work, Melissa’s favorite endeavor is to craft place-based lessons for local schools. Hailing as a fifth-generation resident of Fallon County, her roots in the community serve as the foundation for her commitment to preserving and sharing the rich stories of the region. Melissa appreciates the opportunity her position presents to create connections between the past, present, and future.

Anna Schale 

Anna is American Prairie’s Public Access Coordinator. She holds a BA in History with a minor in Journalism from the University of Montana in Missoula. Her interest in conservation began on a National Geographic Student Expedition to Switzerland and France that launched a passion for outdoor adventure and communication through writing and photography. Throughout school, her interest in the American West was fostered through research about the role of fine arts in the creation of the National Parks. Originally from the Great Plains of Oklahoma, Anna has admiration for wide open spaces. Her family has taught her to love and appreciate the outdoors through fishing, hunting, and many roadtrip miles in their suburban headed to new destinations. She has spent summers in Lewistown and the Missouri Breaks for more than half her life, visiting her grandparents and falling in love with Central Montana.

Kristi Scott  

Kristi D. Scott serves as the Executive Director of The Cascade County Historical Society/The History Museum in Great Falls, MT. Previously Scott was Curator of Art for Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, Development Director for Ursuline Historical Foundation and curatorial assistant at the C.M. Russell Museum. Scott has a background in non-profit work and her professional interests include Northern Plains culture and art, historic preservation, conservation of museum collections, and associated public programming.

Molly Stockdale  

Molly has worked in nonprofit management, primarily in museums, for 30 years. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Masters of Public Management from Carnegie Mellon University. She is currently the Executive Director of Travelers’ Rest Connection, a significant historic site of the Lewis & Clark Expedition and the Selis-Qlispe people. Molly has raised funds for two historic homes and the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art, worked with Mister Rogers on a children’s museum exhibit, been a stay-at-home mom and PTO president, and is a survivor of ovarian cancer. Molly is President-Elect of the Destination Missoula Board of Directors and is a founding member of the Women’s Giving Circle of Missoula County. She was recently appointed by Governor Gianforte to the Montana250 Commission. A native of Pittsburgh, Molly has lived in Montana since 2006 with her husband and two sons -- computer geeks who tolerate her love for museums, poetry, and disco music.

Corrie Williamson 

Corrie is American Prairie’s Senior Outreach Manager. Born on a small farm in the foothills of Virginia's Appalachian mountains, Corrie moved to Montana in 2013, where she's worked since in outreach, communication, conservation, and education. She served for three years as the Outreach Director at AERO, working with farmers and ranchers around the state, and has been a naturalist and guide in Yellowstone National Park, a crew leader for the Student Conservation Association, and an adjunct professor at Carroll College and Helena College. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation, and is the author of three books of poetry, including a Montana Book Award Finalist.

Garvey Wood  

Gar is a consulting archaeologist who has worked across Montana for nearly 50 years. He specializes in historical archaeology with interest in the Homestead Era. He was born in Fort Benton and raised on his family's farm at Loma. He has completed over 4,000 cultural resource management projects. He joined the Community Improvement Association (the CIA) in Fort Benton and now leads it. They are working on two historic preservation projects including the I.G. Baker house and the Keelboat Mandan.

Candi Zion  

Candi Zion is a Montana native born in Great Falls, Montana. She earned a BA in History and MA in Public History/Historic Preservation from Arizona State as well as an Honors Degree from Barrett College. She is a recipient of the Montana Historical Society’s Dave Walters Fellowship and completed grants through the Montana History Foundation on behalf of the North Central Montana Retired Educator’s Association, Old Trail Museum, Winifred Museum, Snowy Mountain Development and Bear Paw Development. Candi conducts cultural resource surveys through CZ Consulting, is a Board of Trustee for the Montana Historical Society, and serves as Executive Director for the non-profit organization, Recycle Montana. Through that organization, Candi has written several grants to further their goals including funding awarded to schools for compost grants, Trash Dash awards, and for school recycling trailers. She also ranches with her husband near Winifred, Montana where they raise hay and run yearlings.

P.O. Box 1451, Helena, MT 59624

Museums Association of Montana is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization

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