Museums Association of Montana

MAM strives to strengthen all of Montana's Museums

Session Descriptions

Intro to Montana Historic Preservation Grant Fundamentals
Presented by: Mackenzie Espeland, Jordan Conley

This workshop will cover the grant application timelines and strategies in preparation for the 2026 application cycle of the Montana Historic Preservation Grant Program. The workshop will be led by members of the Montana Department of Commerce Community and Economic Development team, who will be joined by active grantees willing to share their experiences with MHPG. Participants will engage in interactive discussions, learning the nuances of navigating grant requirements, budgeting, and fostering support for projects. Participants will leave equipped with practical tools, a deeper understanding of the MHPG program, and insights from successful applicants.

Rub-a-dub-dub, Your Hands in a Tub: Correct Historic Textiles & Dress Cleaning Techniques
Presented by: M. Lynn Barnes, Ph.D.

This workshop will teach participants how to identify various organic fibers, how their specific characteristics interact with cleaning compounds, and how to discern between using a textile vacuum (dry) or water bath (wet) method to remove a variety of stains. In the hands-on portion, each attendee will receive 3 textile samples representing different fabrics and stains that are typically found within a museum collection, assemble a washing station, and learn safe washing, handling, and drying procedures. Leave this workshop armed with practical knowledge and a new wash tub. Please do not bring objects from your collection for evaluation or cleaning, as time and space will not permit.

Fossil Preparation Labs: The Basics
Presented by: Lee Hall, Cory Coverdell

This workshop will cover basic necessities for establishing and operating fossil preparation spaces in museums. Topics covered will include lab health and safety, managing lab spaces, selecting and using archival materials, use of preparation tools, and specimen conservation best practices. Participants will be provided with a helpful kit including literature and preparation material samples, and have the opportunity to examine a variety of tools utilized in modern fossil preparation labs.

National Register of Historic Places in Lewistown Area

Embark on a captivating journey through Lewistown’s past, where each step along the trail unveils a rich network of history waiting to be explored. At Lewistown Municipal Airport, learn about the activities of the WWII B-17 Flying Fortress training base, including the top-secret Norden bombsight, that earned Lewistown designation as a WWII Heritage City in December 2022. At Reed & Bowles Trading Post, step into the vibrant intersection of cultures facilitated by Alonzo Reed and John Bowles from 1874 to 1880 and follow the ancestral footsteps of the Nez Perce (Ne-Me-Poo) National Historic Trail, then head back to town and indoors to warm up and delve further into their histories at the American Prairie Discovery Center.

Your trail guides on this journey are Shirley Barrick (Central MT Historical Association), Bryon Armour (Airport Manager), Clark Whitehead (Central MT Historical Association), Kristine Komar (Bitter Root Cultural Historic Trust/qa’ ánin ‘ískit [respect the trail]), and Steve Aaberg (Aaberg Cultural Resources and Consulting Services).

Tour departs from Yogo Inn parking lot at 1:15 p.m. via carpool. We are looking for volunteer drivers; please contact MAM if interested. Dress for the weather!

Meeting in the Middle: Intergenerational Teams Collaboration and Communication
Presented by: Molly Stockdale, Galen Dreger, Bruce Mihelish

Travelers' Rest Connection enlisted the help of several generations of staff and volunteers to create an exhibit titled "Corps of Diversity." Executive Director Molly Stockdale (Gen X), VISTA Member Galen Dreger (Gen Z), and Board Member Bruce Mihelish (Boomer) will share some of the lessons learned through this collaborative process. They will discuss generational preferences in communication and styles of work. Molly, Galen, and Bruce will also touch on how these preferences impact fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and more.

Improving Storage for Quilted Textiles
Presented by: Ashleigh McCann

Learn how to improve the quality of your storage for large, flat quilted textiles in this presentation. We will discuss care for material types like cotton, wool, and silk and the advantages and disadvantages of rolled or folded storage. Folded storage methods and rolled storage methods will be demonstrated as well as advice for using both affordable and archivally sound storage materials.

Designing Small Travel Exhibits for Large Impacts
Presented by: Lauren Hunley, Cecelia Gavinsky

Explore the Western Heritage Center's process to create and manage the state’s leading traveling exhibition program of over 15 traveling exhibits. This session will include goals, mission connections, and replication tips, as well as how to maximize community impacts and community relationships. It will also cover strategies to build sustainable and affordable exhibits to grow outreach and organizational support without overstretching small staffs.

Gift Shop 101
Presented by: Kathy Barton

MSRP. B2B. COGS. The retail world comes with its own language, and if you’re not fluent, you might be leaving money on the table. If you’ve ever puzzled over the difference between markup and margin or worried your store was more a drain of resources than a fundraiser, then this session is for you. Learn the basics of gift shop economics and feel confident that your store supports your museum to its fullest potential.

Dispatches from the Discovery Center
Presented by: Corrie Williamson, David Cunningham, Anna Schale

Join Lewistown-based American Prairie staff as they share lessons learned, bridges built, and obstacles encountered during their first three years of operating the National Discovery Center in Central Montana.

LEGO History Program: Engaging the Public
Presented by: David Colamaria

The Montana History Portal recently developed a pilot program using LEGOs to engage the public and stimulate interest in history during a one-day public session at Lewis and Clark Library in Helena. These building blocks have captured the attention of generations of children and are a great form of outreach. The speaker will discuss this program as well as previous LEGO history programs he has been involved with at US Navy museums.

I, Myself, & Me: Keeping Your Museum Relevant with a Staff of “Three”
Presented by: Samantha French, Melissa Rost, Austin Haney

Are you in a leadership role at a small museum staffed by few Does the prospect of keeping your community engaged with so little manpower seem impossible? Join Melissa Rost, director of O'Fallon Historical Museum, and Samantha French, director of Blaine County Museum, for a roundtable discussion about solutions for developing and implementing museum programs solo. There will be a special emphasis on creative ways to utilize community partners to make this endeavor easier, and for ensuring the museum you lead sustains freshness and relevancy.

You Belong Here: Creating Space for All
Presented by: Kayla de la Ossa

This roundtable will discuss breaking barriers that keep folks from visiting our museums. As caretakers of museums, we are responsible for fostering a culture of acceptance and inclusivity. Just a few of the questions to discuss are: Has there been a time you felt unwelcome at a museum? What can we do to help visitors see themselves within our institutions? What physical and/or cognitive needs are not being met by the institution? Join this thoughtful discussion on overlooked barriers and solutions to bringing people from all walks into our museums.

Caring for the Ursuline Western Province Archives
Presented by: Kristi D. Scott

Cascade County Historical Society in Great Falls recently added a collection significant to the American West, especially First Nations People. Ursuline Western Province Archives were amassed during the Indian boarding school era and include hundreds of photographs, written records and artifacts. To care for this priceless collection, archival boxes, acid-free folders and other preservation materials are needed, as well as digitization. This presentation explores the endeavors required to preserve and make this collection accessible to the public in perpetuity.

FBI Art Crime Team/Art & Cultural Property Crimes
Presented by: Special Agent Christopher “Sean” Dudley

The session will provide an overview of the FBI's role in the investigation of art and cultural property crime. The discussion will focus on the FBI's rapid deployment Art Crime Team (ACT), and its frequent collaboration with public and private museums, as well as an introduction to the FBI's National Stolen Art File (NSAF).

Thinking Outside the Box: Creating Unique Experiences for Our Visitors
Presented by: Matt Lautzenheiser

Is your museum struggling to draw local visitors? Could you use additional revenue? This session explores new and unique ways to engage visitors and donors. Topics covered include immersive exhibits, living history programs, and Curator's tours. How to plan and execute the programs that will engage and entertain our visitors so that they keep coming back for more.

Turning an Idea into a Grant
Presented by: Sam French, Candi Zion, Kristi Scott, Garvey Wood. Moderated by: Ciara Ryan

Every project that is successful in receiving grant funding starts as an idea! Join us for a panel with four Foundation for Montana History grant recipients and learn from them directly about their winning idea, experience writing a successful grant application, executing the project and the impact the project and funding has made in their communities.

Centering in the Workplace
Presented by: Cecelia Gavinsky

Museum yoga session for all. Everyone is encouraged to come to this low-impact, mellow, relaxing class. This session will teach you how to stay centered through asanas (poses), breath work, and meditation. Learn to take yoga techniques from the mat and apply them to the sometimes stressful work environment. We will begin with some breathing techniques, a warm up into some nice gentle poses, cool down, and end with a short meditation. There will be some mats and props provided – feel free to bring yours, too. Let's have some fun!

Building Community Connections: Place-Based Education in Museums
Presented by: Melissa Rost

Uncover the collaborative force of museums and communities in place-based education. Explore how O’Fallon Historical Museum has cultivated dynamic partnerships that invigorate community involvement through their local environment. This session provides insights into crafting lessons that emphasize museums as central pillars of community-driven, collaborative learning experiences.

Thank you to our Corporate Members!


We are funded in part by coal severance taxes paid based upon coal mined in Montana and deposited in Montana's cultural and aesthetic projects trust fund.

P.O. Box 1451, Helena, MT 59624

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

We are funded in part by coal severance taxes paid based upon coal mined in Montana
and deposited in Montana's cultural and aesthetic projects trust fund.

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