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Leaders set virtual meetings for tribal input on Montana Heritage Center project

Posted at 7:01 PM, Jun 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-25 21:01:29-04

The Montana Historical Society and the Montana Department of Administration are planning two virtual meetings next month to give tribal members the chance to weigh in on the design of the new Montana Heritage Center.

The meetings will be held online on Tuesday, July 7, at 12 and 7:30 p.m. Leaders will provide updates on the current plans for the Heritage Center, and take comments from tribal members and the public.

The Heritage Center will be an addition to the current Historical Society building, made possible when the Montana Legislature approved $52.7 million for the project. State committees have been working on design concepts since January.

MHS director Bruce Whittenberg says it’s important that all communities are represented in the planning process.

“We want to make sure that the design – not only the shell of the building itself, but the exhibits that are in the building – reflect Montana, both in terms of the geography of Montana and the cultures of Montana,” he said. “Of course, the tribal people have been an important part of that, and we just want to reach out, make sure they see what we’re doing, make sure that we take their ideas and incorporate them into the designs.”

Whittenberg said the Historical Society has also reformed an Indian advisory panel, to ensure that tribal perspectives are reflected in all of their work.

The Heritage Center project will require extensive work, including the closure of a section of 6th Avenue. Whittenberg said the first work could begin as soon as this summer. Construction is expected to continue through 2023.

You can find full information about the Montana Heritage Center at montanamuseum.org.