Browse Exhibits (3 total)

Montana Brewery Oral History Project


The Montana Brewery Oral History Project takes an in depth look at the rebirth and rise of the craft brewing industry in the state of Montana during the final two decades of the 20th century. Although seen as a booming industry now, a ban of on-site sale through taprooms hindered breweries from reaching their full potential in the early years. After two failed attempts to legalize taprooms in the 1995 and 1997 Montana legislative sessions, in 1999 a compromise mapped out on a bar room napkin was finally reached which resulted in the passage of a taproom bill. Since that time, brewery taprooms have become cultural hubs in the communities they occupy, bringing together individuals from all backgrounds who all share the same love for Montana brewed beer. 

The collection contains a series of interviews, conducted in 2017, with brewery owners, wholesalers, and retailers. These individuals worked in the industry in the 1980's and 90's, many of whom lobbied in multiple sessions for the legalization of on-site sales. 

Appropriate, Curious, & Rare: Montana History Object by Object

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Objects from the past comprise the heart and soul of the Montana Historical Society. Individually, these items provide fascinating glimpses into the lives of earlier generations of Montanans. Together, however, the stories told by the hundreds of thousands of items that the Society holds in trust intertwine to form a rich tapestry illustrating our shared history. This online exhibit features only a few “appropriate, curious, and rare” gems from the Society’s vast collections. While each item is, in its own unique way, somehow outstanding, when considered together they help us better understand who we, as Montanans, are today, and how we got here.

Note: This exhibit is part of a larger effort that will include a book and educational materials devoted to the same topic. This project was made possible in part through funding provided the Cultural & Aesthetic Grant Program. The website’s title comes from an 1876 publication in which the eleven-year-old Historical Society of Montana states, in outlining its collection policy, “As this is the only cabinet of a permanent public society preserved for the whole Territory, it is hoped that whatever is appropriate, curious, and rare will be preserved therein, and no longer scattered abroad.”

Partial funding for this project was provided by Montana Cultural Trust.

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Ed Craney—the Voice of Montana

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In the 1920s, Montanans reeled from blows caused by drought, economic depression, and illness. Half of Montana's farmers lost their land between 1919 and 1925, and thousands moved out of the state. When Edmund "Ed" Craney opened the state's fifth radio station in Butte in 1929, his voice reached across the plains and created a community among those that remained.

This community grew as Craney extended his business operations into the Z Bar network, which included stations across Montana. Craney's influence expanded beyond radio to television and the broadcasting industry at the state and national level. When he retired in 1961, he turned his focus full time to philanthropy, predominantly through the Greater Montana Foundation which he had established in 1958. Through this foundation, Craney's philanthropic efforts continue to impact the cultural heritage of Montana. Ed Craney died in Montpelier, Idaho in 1991 at the age of 86.

This digital exhibit explores Ed Craney's impact on the state and presents images from collections held by the Museum and the Research Center of the Montana Historical Society.

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