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!
Matt Lautzenheiser, MAM President
Deb Mitchell has been the Program Specialist at the Montana Historical Society Outreach and Interpretation Program for the last 10 years. Here she manages 3 interpretative sites, the Montana Historical Society Museum, the Montana State Capitol, and the Original Governor’s Mansion. She also provides help in developing online and published lesson plans and curriculum for teachers and educators throughout the state. Deb has also worked for the Museums Association of Montana since 2007 as the Membership and Program Coordinator. She is now the Executive Director of the MAM organization.
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.
Sabre Moore was born and raised on a sheep and cattle ranch near Douglas, Wyoming. She graduated from Montana State University with a B.A. in History before continuing her education at Johns Hopkins University where she earned a Masters of Arts degree in Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management in 2016. She became the Executive Director of the Carter County Museum in Ekalaka, Montana in December of 2016. The Carter County Museum interprets the 90 million year history of Carter County, Southeastern Montana, and the surround region, as well as operates as a steward for the excavation and preservation of fossil and archaeological resources in the area through exhibits, scientific research, and educational programming. The museum was the first county museum in the state and the first to display dinosaurs in Montana. The museum is home to the annual Dino Shindig, awarded Montana’s Event of the Year in 2017. Sabre is a member of the Board of Directors for Visit Southeast Montana, Museum Association of Montana and Camp Needmore. She has worked at museums all over the world, including the Museum of Innocence in Istanbul, Turkey and serving as an intern for the Smithsonian Office of International Relations. She and her sister, Stirling Moore co-operate Moore and Moore Livestock, LLC, an agricultural business based out of Douglas, WY.
Dani Gamradt is a Certified Public Accountant in the Helena Wipfli office, a CPA and Consulting firm. She holds a master’s degree in Accounting from Montana State University of Bozeman and a master’s degree in Taxation from Northeastern University of Boston. She has 18 year’s experience in the accounting field including but not limited to non-profit organizations, government, public accounting and private business. Although not professionally skilled in history, her passion for preserving Montana’s history is immeasurable. Dani lives in Helena with her husband and three children.
Jennette Rasch is the Manager of Wise Wonders Science and Discovery Museum in Billings, MT. She graduated with honors in 2007 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing from McMurry University in Abilene, TX. She completed her Master of Fine Arts degree in Mixed Media Studio Art in 2012 at the University of North Dakota. Jennette has worked in the curatorial and museum fields for 19 years. She has had the privilege of working at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, the Kennedy Museum of Art, The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, The Clint Hamilton Foundation, the University of North Dakota Art Collections, and most recently the Moss Mansion Museum in Billings, MT.
Jennette joined the Wise Wonders team in February of 2020 and has been avidly working to transform the once children’s museum into a science museum for all ages. When she is not curating new exhibits and overseeing educational programming, Jennette likes to spend her time camping, hiking, baking, and painting. She is a 5th generation Montanan and lives in Billings with her husband and three sons.
Bill Jones of Harlowton is a fourth generation rancher on the family ranch, Twodot Land and Livestock Co., founded in 1908. With a ranch full of history Jones took his love of history to the board of the Upper Mussellshell Historic Society, serving for many years. Then Jones was asked to reopen the shuttered Charles M. Bair Family Museum at Martinsdale, operating it for 3 years, then was instrumental in building the new museum building at the site. Jones finished a two year commitment in April 2016 as the Executive Director of the Gallatin History Museum in Bozeman, steering that organization through a difficult time. Presently researching several historical topics, Jones is currently working on family history.
An independent consultant in museum policy and museum collections care, Pat is also Curator of Collections & Exhibits at the Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell. Past positions include Registrar & Collections Manager for the Museum of the Rockies, Curator of Collections at Virginia City, MT for the Montana Heritage Commission / Montana Historical Society, and Curator for the Elizabeth Sage Historic Costume Collection at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. Pat holds an MS and BS from North Dakota State University in Fargo with a specialty in historic clothing. She is a member of and has served extensively with numerous museum professional organizations.
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.
Jennifer Birnel has a Masters of Education degree, a BS in Middle Grades Education, and BA in Organizational Communications. She taught middle school language arts and social studies for 12 years. She was hired by the State Library in 2011 as a technology trainer. In 2013 she became the Montana Memory Project Director for the Montana State Library.
The Montana Memory Project is a digital library of items related to Montana history and culture. In this role she oversees the ongoing implementation of this project including the addition of new collections, website design, and communication with the MMP membership. She recruits contributors and provides training.
Kaitlin Johnson was born and raised in West Yellowstone, Montana. In 2015, she graduated with honors obtaining a Bachelor of the Arts in Mathematics with a Concentration in Business and Economics from Carroll College in Helena, MT. Kaitlin moved back to West Yellowstone shortly after graduation and was offered a position with Yellowstone Historic Center in September 2016.Kaitlin is now the Executive Director of the Yellowstone Historic Center and manages both the Museum of the Yellowstone and the Union Pacific Dining Lodge. Kaitlin began serving on the Museums Association of Montana Board of Directors in 2019.
Kendra Newhall is the current Senior Registrar at the Montana Historical Society located in Helena, MT. Past positions include Collections Manager for the Freeport Art Center, Collection Specialist for the Far West Heritage Association and internships at the Andersonville National Historic site and Tarble Arts Center.
Kendra received a Master’s in Historical Administration from Eastern Illinois University and BA in Art History at Rockford University.
Karen Reinhart, a native of central Montana, has worked more than twenty-five years in area museums. She worked as a National Park Service interpreter in Yellowstone National Park at Fishing Bridge Museum, was curator of education and outreach at the history museum in Jackson, Wyoming, and currently is curator of the Yellowstone Gateway Museum of Park County in Livingston, Montana. Karen manages the museum’s collections and donations; researches, designs, and fabricates interpretive exhibits; offers public and curriculum programming, including walking tours and bi-annual speaker series; and manages the museum’s advertising and marketing efforts.
Karen believes that story is a powerful tool that helps make history relevant and interesting—a thread she weaves into exhibits, programs, and her articles of the natural and cultural history of the Greater Yellowstone area. Karen is also the author of Old Faithful Inn: Crown Jewel of National Park Lodges (2004) and Yellowstone’s Rebirth by Fire: Rising from the Ashes of the 1988 Wildfires (2008). She lives near Gardiner with her daughter, Mariah, the youngest of her three children
Dr. Rachel Reckin is a fifth-generation native of Libby, Montana, and had her first museum experiences as a child volunteering at Libby’s Heritage Museum with her family. Rachel received her BA in English from the University of Puget Sound, her MA in Anthropology from the University of Wyoming and her PhD in Archaeology from the University of Cambridge. Rachel began working for the Forest Service on seasonal crews at 17, and worked for the Forest Service and Park Service as an archaeologist for ten years in Montana, Washington and California. Rachel loved the variety of work as a public archaeologist, from fire lookout preservation and recording historic mines to excavating 6,000-year-old campsites. Rachel deeply values close relationships with tribal partners, and her federal work included extensive consultation as well as a series of projects aimed at recovering and appropriately curating collections of Native American artifacts historically removed from federal lands.
Rachel’s archaeological research interests are in the complex, varied lifeways of pre-contact hunter-gatherers in the Rocky Mountains, Columbia Plateau and Great Plains. Rachel’s Master’s and Dissertation research investigated human adaptations to life at the highest elevations of the Rocky Mountains, including in Glacier National Park and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Rachel presently serves as the Heritage Program Manager for Montana State Parks, where she is privileged to help care for seven of Montana’s National Historic Landmarks, including Bannack Ghost Town, Chief Plenty Coups’s House and Store, Travelers’ Rest, and First Peoples Buffalo Jump. Rachel deeply values Montana’s remarkable history and archaeology, and has worked throughout her life to enhance and protect Montana’s cultural resources, particularly those on public lands. Rachel lives in Helena with her husband Nick and their puppy, where they spend as much time biking, hiking, skiing, backpacking and generally outdoors as they possibly can. Rachel is a member of St John’s College, Cambridge and a Gates Cambridge Scholar.