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Montana Heritage Center receives large donation

Rendering of future Montana Heritage Center and Historical Society
Montana Heritage Center
Rendering of future Montana Heritage Center and Historical Society

A recent, large monetary donation is helping continue the expansion of the Montana Heritage Center in Helena.

Yellowstone Public Radio’s Orlinda Wortington learned the enhancements will help better tell the story of Montana going back 14,000 years.

Montana native Norm Asbjornson recently contributed ($10.4 million to the Montana Heritage Center in Helena that will go toward renovations.

A 66,000-square-foot addition to the historic 70-year-old Montana Historical Society’s building will include more gallery space, an events center, and an extra storage area for large artifacts.

“It allows us to let folks see many more of the artifacts and art that is in our collection. We're also incorporating our tribal stakeholders from all of the tribes in Montana. They will have input on how we display and how we tell their stories,” said Eve Byron.

Eve Byron is the Public Information Officer for the Montana Historical Society. She says one of her favorite new displays is a Montana mine experience, complete with footage from the 1920s.

“The experience will be as though you are going down into a mine in Butte and we've got images of them having lunch down below, drilling and tapping the dynamite in and you've got rocks that are all around. And you'll be, feel as though you're right there with the sights and the sounds and maybe even the smells,” Byron said.

The Heritage Center still needs to raise about three million more dollars to complete the renovation.

The new Montana Heritage Center is expected to open in the summer of 2025.

Orlinda Worthington hosts “Morning Edition” weekdays on YPR. She brings 20 years of experience as Montana television news anchor, producer, and reporter.