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MTHS Announces Temporary Construction Closures

The Montana Historical Society Research Center, as well as some galleries, will close in the upcoming months in preparation for the 2025 opening of the Montana Heritage Center in Helena.

The Homeland gallery, which examines life in Montana’s past, already is partially shuttered as artifacts are inventoried and stored before their eventual inclusion into expanded exhibits in the new Heritage Center. Both the Homeland gallery and the adjacent exhibit “Neither Empty Nor Unknown: Montana at the Time of Lewisand Clark,” will close at the end of September 2022. However, the historied Charlie Russell gallery and the eclectic “Portraits” lobby exhibit will remain available to the public as long as the art is not affected by the upcoming construction improvements to the 70-yearold MTHS building. The Russell artwork eventually will move into a gallery twice the size of its existing home, and new exhibits will replace the “Who Speaks to You? Portraits from the Permanent Collection” now on display.

The Museum Store at 225 No. Roberts remains open, as does the Original Governor’s Mansion at 304 No. Ewing St. Both are in Helena.

“We apologize for any disruptions to visitors and appreciate the patience of both the public and staff while we go through these exciting yet difficult growing pains,” MTHS Director Molly Kruckenberg said. “We encourage people to visit soon to enjoy the wide range of portraits on display, as well as the outstanding Russell artwork.”

The Research Center is not slated to close until Jan. 1, 2023. Current hours are Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.

“The closure is necessary to allow staff time to prepare the collections for the renovation work that will occur in 2023 and 2024 in our current space,” said Roberta Gebhardt, the Research Center program manager. “We hope that by giving early notice, we can accommodate researchers’ needs prior to the temporary but extended closure.”

During the closure, any research using original, non-digital archives or library collections will not be possible.

However, online resources will be available including historic newspapers, and all collections found on the Montana Memory Project. Limited remote research services also will be available. See more at mhs.mt.gov The Research Center will re-open in early 2025. People with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact the Research Center at [email protected] mt.gov or 406-444-- 2681. Online research materials are available at https:// mhs.mt.gov/Research/OnlineCollections.

New on display at the Original Governor’s Mansion are carriages that were moved out of storage and into the OGM carriage house adjacent to the 133-year-old former home to Montana’s governors.

“The three-story Queen Anne-style structure housed nine First Families until a new governor’s residence was built in 1888,” said Anthony Schrillo, who provides tours of the mansion. “Today, the building is carefully restored to its authentic appearance during the mansion’s first years as home to Montana’s governors.”

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