Greetings Museums Association of Montana and welcome to the MAM website. Across the state of Montana, we are blessed with a rich history and many wonderful museums dedicated to preserving and sharing our history with residents and visitors alike.
Montana’s history is diverse and important to the understanding our state and its people. It ranges from prehistory to the present day, from the mines of Butte to ranching history of Eastern Montana. We are home to over 200 museums both large and small. The work we undertake allows the citizens of our state to take pride in where they are from and to better understand our current culture.
MAM is an organization dedicated to helping museums throughout the state to better tell their stories, preserve our historic structures and artifacts, and advocate for support of our museums. Annually we host a museums conference and provide workshops for our members. We also act as voice for Montana’s museums assuring that our communities and our elected officials understand the value we bring to the state.
Montana’s museums aren’t just important to the past, they are also a valuable economic driver that brings people to the treasure state and promote economic development.
Thank you for the work you do and for your dedication to Montana’s history!
MAM Board Members
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. 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. 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 and the Yellowstone County Museum. Not limited to museums, Kathy's role in membership and gift shop development as Guest Services Manager at ZooMontana since 2018 brings fresh perspective to her leadership at MAM. When not serving zoo guests or Montana's museums, Kathy can be found at the dog park or near a body of water.
Sabre MooreDr. Sabre Moore is the Executive Director of the Carter County Museum in Ekalaka, Montana. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies with a focus in Public History from Montana State University in 2023, her M.A. in Museum Studies & Nonprofit Management from Johns Hopkins University in 2016, and a B.A. in History from Montana State University in 2013. Her research focuses on museums and rural community vitality, and how power is exercised in practices of place. Sabre is the President of the Museums Association of Montana, Chair of Visit Southeast Montana, serves on the Montana Governor’s Tourism Advisory Council and is a Site Steward for Medicine Rocks State Park and the Bureau of Land Management in Carter County, Montana.
Tate Jones is a Missoula native and holds B.A. in International Studies from Macalseter College and a Master of Arts degree in History from George Washington University. He is Montana Historian and a University of Montana Doctoral candidate. He serves as Executive Director for the Rocky Mountain Museum of Military History and Vice President of the Northern Rockies Heritage Center, both located at Fort Missoula.
Tate authored the book, Fort Missoula, published in 2013. This book gives a comprehensive history of the Fort from its beginnings in 1877 and discusses the various roles the Fort served in the Missoula community.
Museum of the Rockies
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.
Melissa Rost is the Curator at O’Fallon Historical Museum in Baker. As a fifth-generation resident of Fallon County, Melissa loves sharing the “history of here” with visitors and locals alike, striving to engage guests in active discovery of the area’s history by producing educational exhibits and public programs. Melissa holds a BA in Education and has worked with local educators to create hands on, place-based learning projects. She coauthored the article, “Place-Based Cases: Local Museum Collaboration to Develop Mock Trial CSI Cases," published in Science and Children. Since her advent as curator the museum has also hosted annual STEM and art camps, all utilizing ties to the Fallon County community. She was the motivating force behind the newly developed events “Night at the Museum,” which brings to life local history through museum theater, and “Heritage Fest,” a family-focused day of hands-on activities related to the homestead history of Montana. Melissa’s goal is that her small, home-town museum is utilized as a means to create connections between the past, present and future.
Matt Lautzenheiser is a native of Ohio, growing up in the small town of Dover about 85 miles south of Cleveland. 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 2000 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. Outside of his museum work, Lautzenheiser is an avid reader, and has published three books on local history. They are; Images of America: Dover and Legendary Locals of Dover with Arcadia Press and The Dover-Phila Football Rivalry: A Tradition Shared Through its Greatest Games with the History Press. Matt is an avid runner and has completed the Boston Marathon twice. He lives in Missoula with his wife Kelly and two boys, Douglas and Benjamin. I can assist other museums with Grant Writing and Fundraising, Living History Programs/Interpretation, Museum Administration, Special Events and Board Development and Challenges.
Lisa Tate grew up in Missoula, Montana but moved to Boise, ID in the early 1980's where she worked in Museum and Non Profit management for over 32 years. Her career has focused primarily on curatorial and Museum Director roles, as well as fundraising positions including Development Director. She holds a Master degree in Nonprofit Management and is a Certified Fund Raising Manager from Indiana University Lily School of Philanthropy. Lisa has served on several nonprofit boards including 8 years as President of a national nonprofit association. She has also served as a Trustee for several nonprofit foundations.
Prior to returning to Missoula in 2016, Lisa spent five years in Fargo, ND where she was the Director of the Red River Zoo, a world renowned facility known for their conservation work with some of the world's rarest cold climate species. While in Fargo, she was honored to be nominated for and receive Fargo's Woman of the Year in 2016.
In 2016 Lisa moved back to Montana to serve as the Executive Director for the National Museum of Forest Service History. She a strong passion for understanding history as a way to make better, more informed decisions for the future.
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. Her recent projects include Conquering Diseases of the Past, Saints & Sinners: Women Breaking Tradition, and Healthcare on the Crow & Northern Cheyenne Reservations.
Samantha 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. She began her position in Chinook in spring of 2019, and since then her focus has been dedicated to gaining intellectual control of Blaine County Museum’s collections and creating exhibits and programs relevant to museum goers of today. Sam is a member of both the Central Montana tourism board, and the Friends of Big Hole, Bear Paw, and Canyon Creek Battlefields. She is also a proud member of the Chinook Lions Club.
Jenn Hall Tooke
Jenn Hall Tooke is the Executive Director of the WaterWorks Art Museum in Miles City, Montana. She received her Masters Degree in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University in 2019. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010 in Fine Art with a minor in geology, the combination of which she has used to practice scientific illustration for over ten years. Her work has been published in various outlets including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the History Channel, and numerous others. Previous to her time at the WaterWorks, Jenn was the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the Carter County Museum in Ekalaka, MT where she worked extensively on their Dino Shindig public education event. In addition to the educational nature of her artwork, Jenn’s work in museums has emphasized fine art as a vehicle to transform rural spaces. At the WaterWorks Art Museum, she focuses on bringing exhibitions, artists, and art instruction to and from Miles City to promote local culture as well as increase exposure to non-local and non-traditional expressions of art.
The History Museum / Cascade County Historical Society
Conrad Mansion Museum