past events


august 9, 2018

Pluck and Stamina:  The Life of Pioneer Photographer Evelyn Cameron

(portrayal by Mary Jane Bradbury)

ECcoyotepup (1).jpg

Evelyn Flower Cameron traded a life of English wealth and privilege for a tiny homestead cabin in the austere, rugged badlands of eastern Montana.  She soon learned the art of glass-plate photography as a way to support the Cameron’s struggling pioneer homestead.  For the rest of her life, she rode horseback many miles, carrying her camera around her waist and her wooden tripod in a gun scabbard, documenting expansive and beautiful Western landscapes along with the homesteaders, sheepherders, ranch families and immigrants who lived there.  Evelyn produced some of the first photographs of North American birds, and was an early proponent of prairie and wildlife conservation.  Historic interpreter Mary Jane Bradbury brings Evelyn to life through living history as well as a look at some of her outstanding photographs.

August 3, 2018

The Lucky Valentines concert


The Lucky Valentines are Montana native songwriters Shaun and Jamie Carrier. Their music has been described as "stirring" Americana,  "straight from the heart." Married on February 14, 2010 they have been playing music for the whole of their life together. Crafting songs rooted in honest, raw emotion and blending sounds from alt-country, rock-n-roll, indie, and folk; they span themes of joy and pain in the face of life's trials. They borrow inspiration from their own experience, observation, and the beautiful, lonesome landscape and history of north-central Montana. Their 2016 independent release "Lion in the Garden" is a collection of songs that explore betrayal, loss, and joy. The Lucky Valentines have a setlist with over 2 hours of original music, both upbeat and slow tunes. The two use guitars, vocals and violin to create a unique, yet familiar sound.

JULY 29, 2018

Magic Show by Butte Magic


Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, this was your chance to see the spectacle of a lifetime! Magic, juggling, feats of strength, and more! Behold, as the performers of Butte Magic performed in a death-defying, jaw dropping, and plain ol' puzzling show!

Past appearances on EHAHC stage:

7/30/17    7/24/16

July 26, 2018

"Sacred Dog: the Journey" by Thomas Savage book reading

SacredDog (2).jpg

The Lakota word, Sunka Wakan, means horse. The English translation is Sacred Dog. This story is about the epic life of one such sacred dog whose fight for survival in the brutal high deserts of Nevada leads him on an unbelievable journey. Live the incredible experiences of Son of Banshee, as he leads his herd of wild mustangs through the unforgiving wilds of Nevada. At every turn, his life is a battle against not only the brutal land in which he and his herd lives, but a relentless struggle also to elude the capture of man. Though his life is one of constant strife, the stallion finds freedom in the darkness of night. In his dream world, he is the warhorse of the great Sioux war chief, Talking Bear. Their passage creates a bond between them that is timeless.

Author bio:

Savage (1).jpeg

I am Tom Savage.  I have lived nearly all my years in the rugged mountains of southwestern Montana.  In rural homes near the towering mountains that form the Continental Divide, my love for the wildness of nature was born. By my father’s strong example and under his watchful eye, I took my first tentative steps as a young boy on the path that I walk still today. My growing hunger to understand the sometimes mysterious ways of nature grew in to a journey of untold miles walking my beloved mountains along the great divide.  I grew to appreciate the great force at work in these wild and unchanged places.  My chosen path in life has led me to a beautiful earth-based spirituality.  Native American friends I came to know along the way, generously shared their most revered ceremonies with me.  Knowledge learned from these ceremonies, I realized after much introspection, has given me the words to write this, and other stories.

July 19, 2018

Notable historic Montana Millionaires lecture series at the Linderman Cabin, Laurin, MT

Andrew Jackson Davis - Montana's First Millionaire

presented by Jim Jarvis


The EHAHC, in partnership with the Virginia City Preservation Alliance, sponsored their fifth series of history programs in 2018.  Once again, the programs were held in the beautifully restored cabin of Frank Bird Linderman; on the grounds of the historic Robber’s Roost near Laurin, MT.  The general theme of the 2018 series focused upon historic Montana millionaires.

A.J. Davis (1819-1890), a successful banker, was a lesser known contemporary of Butte's notorious copper kings.  This presentation will explore the life and legacy of this important figure in Montana history. 

James (Jim) R. Jarvis has worked in the historic preservation field for the past 18 years, serving as the preservation officers for the City-County of Butte-Silver Bow and the Town of Virginia City, Montana.  In these roles, he administered local historic preservation programs for these National Historic Landmark communities, including design review of new development within historic districts, restoration and rehabilitation of various publicly owned historic properties, and general historical research and interpretation. Currently, he works as an independent consultant, providing community development planning, project management, and fund raising services for various communities and projects.

Special research interests include the study of Montana’s frontier settlements, their origins and often colorful inhabitants. Jim has contributed to several publications and conferences on these subjects.

Jim resides in Virginia City, Montana with his wife Sheri, a professional multi-media artist and native of Glasgow, Montana.   He can be reached at

JULY 11, 2018

"Hollowtop Smoke Signals" by Art Kehler book reading

hollowtop (3).jpg

Author of more than two hundred essays, Kehler writes from his home in the small, rural town of Harrison, Montana. His essays, both humorous and poignant, have been published in regional newspapers and journals, online magazines, and nationally recognized literary magazines.

art (1).jpeg

This book of humorous essays takes you down home to the ‘tri-cities’ of Harrison, Pony and Norris, Montana, (combined populations of 382), and the charms, challenges, and various misadventures of living in such a rustic but beautiful place, nestled on the northeastern fringe of the Tobacco Root Mountains. In an age of political controversy, chaos, and negative news, author Art Kehler gives us a refreshing look at small town antics and a chance to laugh at ourselves as we relate to our shared human condition. This compilation of more than 80 humorous anecdotes from real life, poke fun at the wildlife, the residents, the tourists, the weather, and most of all, the author himself. Many of the essays have appeared in various periodicals, and have drawn much praise from readers. Art’s essays include a harrowing tale of a climb to the top of Hollowtop Mountain, for which the book is named. From rattlesnake hunting to elk bugling, to bench sitting, to helpful suggestions for coping with a one-sided town and its frequent four-legged visitors, there is much to a reader can either relate to, laugh at, or both. Readers have called it hilarious, and compared it to that of James Thurber, Mark Twain, Garrison Keilor, and other humorists as he writes about his experiences in the tri-cities of Pony, Harrison, and Norris, Montana, whose combined population is fewer than 500 people. Are his true stories slightly embellished? You be the judge as you treat yourself to some health-producing belly laughs by reading his book and hearing him speak. Stop worrying and relax with the best medicine you can find: laughter.

JUne 22, 2018



The Elling House Arts and Humanities Center presented “Growling Old Men” in concert. Ben Winship (mandolins & vocals) and John Lowell (guitar & vocals) are both veterans of the Northern Rockies acoustic music world. Together the duo presents a tight yet relaxed set of original and traditional bluegrass songs, ballads and tunes. Their CDs are truly a joint effort with the lead singing, songwriting and picking duties shared throughout. Influenced equally by the music of the Appalachian hills and the western plains, their music is at once simple and powerful - furthermore, it reflects the genuine sense of fun these two guys get from playing together.  The duo blends each artist’s individual talents as musician, songwriter, and vocalist in a repertoire of original and traditional bluegrass tunes and folk ballads, played on guitar and mandolin.  Growling Old Men have performed on A Prairie Home Companion and Garrison Keillor has said, "I've been hearing about these young men for a long time but they do not come around American centers of population to advance their careers.  They have isolated themselves out here in Montana and Victor, Idaho on account of their lifelong obsession with fishing.  Not so old, not so growly, a real fine bluegrass duo.  They're great."

The evening program, ideally suited for an intimate venue such as the Elling House, included a blend of well-rehearsed material and few new songs hot off the press – Ben and John like to keep it fresh with an edge of improvisational risk taking.  They strive to contrast simplicity with complexity - all with good tone and a warm sense of humor. 


7/16/17     7/30/16     7/31/15     7/25/14     8/2/13     7/8/12     10/15/10

JUNE 14, 2018

Notable historic Montana Millionaires lecture series at the Linderman Cabin, Laurin, MT

The Life & Times of Henry Elling

presented by Amy Grice


The EHAHC, in partnership with the Virginia City Preservation Alliance, sponsored their fifth series of history programs in 2018.  Once again, the programs were held in the beautifully restored cabin of Frank Bird Linderman; on the grounds of the historic Robber’s Roost near Laurin, MT.  The general theme of the 2018 series focused upon historic Montana millionaires.

Henry Elling (1842-1900) was a banker in Virginia City, Montana, with extensive mercantile, mining, and ranching interests.  Orphaned at the age of 15, Elling made his way from Germany to the United States with great hope…and little knowledge of English. After a few years in Missouri, where he learned the mercantile business—and English—he began his westward trek; arriving in Virginia City, Montana, in the summer of 1864. During the next 36 years, Henry was extraordinarily successful with his wide ranging investments which included banking, mining, ranching, and properties. By the time of his death, Henry was well established as one of the wealthiest men in Montana. Join us as we learn more of the life journey of this man who lived the “American Dream” from one his ancestors.


Amy practiced as an equine veterinarian for 25 years, and served as the managing partner of her equine referral practice in upstate New York until 2015, when she opened a business consulting firm, and moved her residence to Virginia City.
Amy is the daughter of the late Mary and George Grice, who retired to Virginia City in 2001. She grew up in Connecticut, received her BA in Biology from Wellesley College in Massachusetts and then completed her veterinary education at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine. She earned her MBA with a concentration in Ethical Leadership from Marist College School of Management in 2014.
Dr. Grice has strong family ties to Virginia City and the Elling House. Henry and Mary (Cooley) Elling were uncle and aunt of her great Aunt Mary Anna Elling, who was raised in the Elling House in Virginia City for a number of years in the 1880’s. In turn, Mary Anna Elling raised Dr. Grice’s grandmother, Anne Case Drummond, sharing with her many stories of her time in Montana.
After many years of being a summer visitor, Amy is thrilled to finally be a fulltime resident. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Montana’s back country on her horse.
In addition to serving as treasurer to the Elling House Arts & Humanities Center, the Virginia City Preservation Alliance, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Amy is a Virginia City city council member. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

In Good Faith Documentary Sneak Preview


IN GOOD FAITH is a documentary that centers around the work of Dr. Orlan Svingen, professor of history at Washington State University (WSU), and his ongoing work with the Mixed Bands of Shoshone, Bannock and Sheepeater Indians at the Fort Hall reservation in Pocatello, Idaho. Through his decades of work with Indian tribes across the U.S., Dr. Svingen has developed strong relationships at Fort Hall and forged the creation of Indian history field schools that are conducted in Central Idaho and Southwestern Montana. Since 2010, Dr. Svingen and his students have researched The Virginia City Treaty of 1868, negotiated and signed almost 150 years ago by Chief Tendoy. It was signed, in good faith, by the US government and tribal members, but never ratified. Though never ratified, the US took all that was promised to them and, in return, granted the tribe an Executive Order reservation, a far cry from the terms of the treaty. Dr. Svingen, researching National Archives microfilm, found the “Holy Grail.” It was the signed and sealed Cession Document that clearly laid out the parameters of the treaty and the boundaries of the lands the tribe was gave up - over 12,000 square miles of territory in Wyoming and Montana. With these findings, the Mixed Bands have started the legal process to right the wrong and proceed IN GOOD FAITH.

Project Highlights:

• Narrated by Forrest Goodluck, Native American actor seen in The Revenant.

forrest-goodluck-05 (1).jpg

• Original music score by Emmy winning composers Jason Hausman (Hot Sake) and Fred Story (Concentrix Music & Sound Design)

• Featuring original artwork by Derek NoSun Brown (War Medicine Art)

• Post show Q&A with Dr. Svingen & the filmmakers, Beverly Penninger & Alyson Young

June 8, 2018

Mike Dowling concert


When the late, great Vassar Clements heard Mike Dowling play guitar back in 1975 he did the sensible thing. He hired him. Mike was the guitarist in Vassar's first touring band and can be heard on his Grammy-nominated "Nashville Jam". Clements called him simply, "One of the finest guitarists there is, anywhere."Echoing that sentiment is an ever-growing chorus of music critics, guitar students, and acoustic music fans from throughout the world.

Mike digs deep into the musical bag of American roots guitar, favoring the melodic Piedmont style of acoustic blues masters like Mississippi John Hurt and slide great Tampa Red. But Mike can't be pigeonholed as a blues player, or even as a fingerstylist. He's far too versatile for that. From bottleneck blues to vintage jazz and much more in between, Mike's musicality, depth, and mastery of the instrument translates fluently to flattop, archtop, and resonator guitars alike.

Mike grew up in central Wisconsin and early in his career in the midwest caught the ear of jazz violin great Joe Venuti and mandolinist Jethro Burns. In the 1970's, in addition to touring with Clements, he worked and recorded with Burns and Venuti in Chicago and in between jobs took time off to move to California when he had the opportunity to study with the late, great George Barnes. Barnes had been "the" session guy for many years, recording with everyone from Big Bill Broonzy to Tony Bennett. "I was very fortunate to be able to spend some time with him", Mike says. " He was so tasteful, so rhythmic. He set the bar very high for me and he continues to be an inspiration."


6/9/17     6/3/16     6/13/15     10/5/13     6/15/12     6/18/11     6/19/10

Friday, June 8, 2018

Artist-of-the-Month Reception

Ken Carlson


Ken Carlson of Twin Bridges is a self-taught artist who has worked with many media. Early in his career he braided copper baskets, which were featured in the Washington Post and Connoisseur Magazine. Carlson's baskets are in the permanent collection of the American Craft Museum in New York City, the collection of the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, as well as various corporate collections.  Carlson began his art career in 1974, and soon was showing his basketry in intricately braided copper or leather at, among others, the Philadelphia Museum of Art show, the Smithsonian show and the American Craft Council shows. One of his braided copper baskets is on permanent display at the White House. In 1995, Carlson decided that he needed a major change, and  for both creative and health reasons, returned to his first love, oil painting. His rich landscapes, featuring lush Montana streams, meadows and byways, are shown at outdoor shows in such resorts as Aspen, Sun Valley and Jackson Hole, but as he has grown older, he prefers to travel to go painting or fishing, so he typically leaves the showing and selling of his work to others.

sunday, May 20, 2018

Painting Workshop with Cathy Toot


Local Ennis artist and EHAHC board member, Cathy Toot, hosted a painting workshop,  Participants spent a lovely Sunday afternoon in the historic Elling House creating an original piece of art! 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Ridge to Ridge: The Watershed Approach


The lifeblood of our area is our land and our water, and the way it is managed is a topic of extraordinary priority.  By working with community members and partners, an unique approach is used to protect the high quality resources that we have, and restore areas where problems might exist. The local Watershed Coordinator, Sunni Heikes-Knapton, shared stories about pistols, leeches, and homemade cookies (and how each of them are featured in her job).  

Photo by Emily Numrich.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Me and Martha: Intimate Reflections of Dora DuFran about the Real Life of Calamity Jane 

(portrayal by Mary Jane Bradbury)


The name Calamity Jane brings to mind an iconic character of the American West. Accounts of Calamity-whose real name was Martha Canary-are legion and she has achieved mythical status in the lore of the frontier. She lived and traveled throughout Wyoming, Montana, and the Dakotas from 1867 to 1903, during some of the West's wildest days. The voracious Victorian press sensationalized her activities, and as a flamboyant character in popular dime novels, Calamity Jane's legend grew until the person behind the character all but disappeared. 


Who better to give us insights about the real story than madam Dora DuFran, a Black Hills pioneer, entrepreneur and close friend of Calamity's. Ms. DuFran built a successful red light business during the rambunctious early days of the western frontier in Deadwood, South Dakota, and has a unique perspective about how wild it really was. Ms. DuFran knows better than anyone the life of Martha Canary and Calamity Jane, two quite different women, one legendary, one all but forgotten.

Additional financial support was provided by Humanities Montana and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Favorite Friends, Famous Poems

"Next to being a great poet, is the power of understanding one;” H.W Longfellow.  


The Elling House Arts Humanities Center hosted our annual special event of readings by some of our favorite friends.  Each friend was invited to read his/her favorite famous poem.  Our favorite friends for the 2018 event were Creed Allen, Pattie Henry, Sophia Perea, Allyson Adams, Karl Marcus, Angela Mueller, Chris Harris, Amy Grice and Dave Walker.

saturday, April 21, 2018

A Reading with Montana's Poet Laureate, Lowell Jaeger


At Jaeger's readings, expect humor, expect serious reflection, expect to examine the "human condition" in all its marvelous complexity. He enjoys interacting with audiences. He enjoys sharing the stage with other Montana poets. In between reading from his own work, he enjoys reciting from memory the poems of Robert Frost, Donald Hall, Richard Wilbur, and others. Let's light up the evening with the splendid magic of the spoken word!

Lowell Jaeger (Montana Poet Laureate 2017-2019) is founding editor of Many Voices Press and recently edited New Poets of the American West, an anthology of poets from eleven western states.  Lowell has taught writing classes at numerous conferences and workshops and is currently Professor of English/Creative Writing at Flathead Valley Community College (Kalispell, Montana), where he also serves as Humanities Division Chair.  He is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, winner of the Grolier Poetry Peace Prize, and recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Montana Arts Council. Lowell was awarded the Montana Governor’s Humanities Award for his work in promoting civil civic discourse.  He is the author of eight collections of poems, the most recent of which are Or Maybe I Drift Off Alone (Shabda Press 2016) and Earth-blood & Star-shine (Shabda Press 2018)

Additional financial support was provided by Humanities Montana and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

sunday, April 15, 2018

Painting Workshop with Cathy Toot


Local Ennis artist and EHAHC board member, Cathy Toot, hosted a painting workshop,  Participants spent a lovely Sunday afternoon in the historic Elling House creating an original piece of art!  This event sold out! 

March 10, 2018

“Climbing Mountains in Skirts” presents Dorothy Eck, Martha Edgerton Rolfe Plassman and Mildred Walker



In recognition of March as Women’s History Month, this program profiles three women who courageously made their mark upon Montana history:

Dorothy Eck 1924-2017 (social activist and long-time MT legislator)



Martha Edgerton Rolfe Plassman 1850-1936 (first woman editor/publisher of a MT newspaper)

Mildred Walker 1905-1998 (author of several books, including Winter Wheat which was a One Book Montana selection).



Presenting the stories of these women were Doris Fischer of Sheridan, MT, Erin Leonard of Virginia City, MT and Ann White of McAllister, MT. 

DECEMBER 10, 2017

"Wintertide" by Willson & McKee 


Long-time EHAHC friends, Ken Willson & Kim McKee returned for the...  well, they've been sharing music in Virginia City and the Elling House countless times over the past 18 years!  This visit was a bit different than their summer concerts.  Ken & Kim celebrated the "Wintertide" with a mixture of traditional Celtic, and new-veau seasonal songs and tunes, old favorites and a 'settling in by the fire' feel for the winter season. The historic Elling House offered a spectacular setting for this holiday event, walls decked with natural trimmings and decorations handmade by local volunteers.

november 11, 2017

Ornament Making workshop

The Elling House invited all to assist the Elling Elves in creating our unique handmade ornaments. These ornaments are given to the guests at the Splendid Feast. Each participant was provided lunch and was also able to take one of the wonderful ornaments home to adorn their own tree. Thank you to all who attended!


October 7, 2017

Felt United - felting workshop

The EHAHC celebrated the annual International Day of Felt – “Felt United”.  The goal of Felt United is to connect felt makers around the world to help raise awareness of felt and the properties of wool and other fibers.  Felt is mans oldest known textile, made from natural fibers, water, soap and agitation.  This process has produced non-woven fabrics for shelter, personal warmth, and creative expression.  A group participated in the global event and created a whimsical felted angel.  Fiber artist Elizabeth “BJ” Raddel joined others to let imaginations flow.  To learn more you can visit Felt United at

September 16, 2017

Bozeman Symphony Far Afield program featuring Absaroka Winds


The Far Afield program, established in 1992, takes Bozeman Symphony chamber ensembles to rural communities to present free performances and share their musical perspectives.  Far Afield enables the audience to see, hear and feel the music being created live instead of through the media of television or radio.

Absaroka Winds is an ensemble made up of four professional woodwind players and educators who perform on flute, oboe, English horn, and bassoon. The group’s repertoire is far ranging, consisting of traditional woodwind quartets, and music in a variety of styles arranged especially for this unique ensemble.

The members of Absaroka Winds are: Patricia Gates, flute; Sandra Stimson, oboe; Beth Antonopulos, oboe and English horn, and Paul Gates, bassoon.

September 16, 2017

Artist of the Month reception

~ Barbara Swan, fine art photographer


Art is the window to the creative soul.  It makes us think; it makes us feel; it makes us respond; whether it be positive or negative.  Each viewer sees the image in her/his own way, bringing a personal perspective and life-experience to the process.My initial inspiration to record the world around me through photography was a month-long trip through Greece, Israel & Egypt in 1992.  I enjoy observing cultures different from my own, and being awed by ancient ruins and sites previously glimpsed only in books.  The images I create are both color and black & white, and may incorporate hand-coloring.The focus of my art is capturing people and natural scenes in a way that honors the uniqueness of each subject.  I aim to share the variety of culture and beauty I have observed in my travels and in my home states of California and Montana.  The goal of my images is to leave the observer with a sense of wonder and a new connection to the surrounding world.I enjoy the magic of bringing images to life through photography, and the camaraderie and inspiration shared with fellow photographers and artists. 

September 14, 2017

Notable authors lecture series at the Linderman Cabin, Laurin, MT

The Legacy of A River Runs through It: An Evening with John N. Maclean


The EHAHC, in partnership with the Virginia City Preservation Alliance, sponsored their fourth series of history programs in 2017.  Once again, the programs were held in the beautifully restored cabin of Frank Bird Linderman; on the grounds of the historic Robber’s Roost near Laurin, MT.  The general theme of the 2017 series focused upon notable Montana authors.

The book and movie of A River Runs Through It have had a deep and lasting effect on Montana, its rivers, and its literary legacy. But what exactly is the nature of the book? In a way, it’s one-time flash of brilliance at the end of a long life, an argument for creativity in old age.  The author, Norman Maclean, tried all his life to be an author, but only came into his own in his 70s. But A River wasn’t Maclean’s last book. Part of his ongoing legacy is his contribution to the literature of wildland fire, Young Men and Fire. His son, John N., continued the tradition with his own book, Fire On The Mountain, and subsequent books chronicling fatal wildland fires and their implications. A quarter century ago, books about wildland fire were few and far between: today, there are shelves full, and more to come as fire in the wild becomes a greater concern to more people each year.

About John Maclean: 


John Norman Maclean, an award-winning author and journalist, has written about wildland fire for more than two decades. Before turning to fire, Maclean was for 30 years a journalist with The Chicago Tribune, most of that time as diplomatic correspondent in Washington, DC. He was one of the “Kissinger 14,” the group of media who regularly traveled with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger during the era of shuttle diplomacy. Maclean resigned from The Tribune in 1995 to write Fire On The Mountain, an acclaimed account of the 1994 fire on Storm King Mountain in Colorado that took the lives of fourteen firefighters. Maclean divides his time between Washington, D.C., and the West.

Financial support for this series was provided by Humanities Montana and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

August 31, 2017

Notable authors lecture series at the Linderman Cabin, Laurin, MT

Ivan Doig and the Historical Novel with Dr. O. Alan Weltzien


The EHAHC, in partnership with the Virginia City Preservation Alliance, sponsored their fourth series of history programs in 2017.  Once again, the programs were held in the beautifully restored cabin of Frank Bird Linderman; on the grounds of the historic Robber’s Roost near Laurin, MT.  The general theme of the 2017 series focused upon notable Montana authors.

Ivan Doig (1939-2015) was born in White Sulphur Springs, Montana, and grew up along the Rocky Mountain Front where much of his writing takes place. His first book, the highly acclaimed memoir This House of Sky, was a finalist for the National Book Award. A former ranch hand, newspaperman, and magazine editor, Doig is a graduate of Northwestern University where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism. He also held a PhD in history from the University of Washington. He was widely known for his sixteen fiction and non-fiction books set mostly in his Montana, celebrating the landscape and people of the post-war American West.

O. Alan Weltzien, longtime Montana Wilderness Association member (incl. State Council) and
Professor of English at UMW (Dillon), has published dozens or articles and ten books, most
recently Exceptional Mountains: A Cultural History of the Pacific Northwest Volcanoes (Univ.
Nebraska Press, 2016), and Rembrandt in the Stairwell (FootHills Publishing, 2016), his third
book of poetry. Weltzien still skis in winter and scrambles peaks in summer. He never tires of
the endless diversity of Montana mountainscapes and loves to hike above timberline.

Financial support for this series was provided by Humanities Montana and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

August 11, 2017

Willson & McKee concert

Willson & McKee Photo 2013.jpg

Kim McKee received 15 years of classical training before turning to traditional Irish and Scottish music, 28 years ago! She moves effortlessly between her instruments and her pallate includes hammered and mountain dulcimer, folk harp, accordion, guitar and bodhran, and she never passes up an opportunity to teach a Ceili dance! Ken Willson is the pulsing folk drive, with an engaging tenor voice and tasteful guitar and bouzouki foundations to the unique material. A weaver of wit and tales, he can also spin a fine Ceili swing on the dance floor!

Collecting experiences, stories and humor from 20 years of touring together, this pair has focused on educational programming, concert venues, college campuses, master classes, workshops, cultural events and festivals, and they have fine tuned their stage performances to be anything but predictable, traditional, or expected.

Past appearances on EHAHC stage:

8/15/15     8/23/13     8/25/12     8/12/11     8/13/10     8/14/09

August 11, 2017

Artist of the Month reception

~ Shirley Anderson Sylvester, painter


Born and raised in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana, Shirley and her family have always lived on a farm east of Corvallis. Shirley began painting with oils in 1984 and watercolor in 1995.  She enjoys plein aire painting along the rivers and in the mountains of the Bitterroot Valley as well as different areas of Montana. She likes to create small paintings. This gives her the ability to capture a moment and a place, a snapshot in time. Painting miniatures gives her the liberty to experiment with light, color and compositions.  Old homesteads and barns have great interest to Shirley, she says, “I like to imagine the lives of the folks that lived there. They represent a disappearing heritage of our country’s past.” Shirley is also involved with archaeology. She is on the board of the Montana Archaeological Society. She has visited nearly 100 pictograph and petroglyph sites in the northwest. She incorporates these interests and images in her paintings on occasion. She also paints tepees to represent the different tribal cultures of the northwest.  Shirley believes an artist should paint what they love and what inspires them; this is what breathes life and spark into a piece.

July 16, 2017

Artist of the Month reception

~ Zach Babat, painter


Zach was taken from us too soon, but his legacy will live on forever in his art. Zach was a professional artist and Alaskan Bush Pilot. He split his time between Montana and Alaska, the two states with the best fish and wildlife in the world.  Zach spent over 20 year years as an outdoor guide and professional bush pilot. These experiences gave Zach his inspiration for his artwork. Zach had the opportunity to get face to face with the wildlife species of the west.  Zach said, “It is the close interaction with the animals, their personalities I try to capture not just the horns, claws and teeth.”  Zach used watercolor paint, both transparent and opaque, exclusively to bring the animals and fish to life. Zach perfected the use of canvas board for his paintings, which eliminated the need for glass. Most people viewing his original artwork don’t realize they are watercolor because of the vividness of the colors and lack of glass.  Zach’s wife, Kerry, will continue his legacy by continuing to offer prints and select originals for sale. In addition, multiple books are in the process of being written using Zach’s artwork. A Zach Babat Scholarship fund is also in the process of being created. 

July 18, 2017

Notable authors lecture series at the Linderman Cabin, Laurin, MT

Bob Brown presented a program on Dorothy Johnson


The EHAHC, in partnership with the Virginia City Preservation Alliance, sponsored their fourth series of history programs in 2017.  Once again, the programs were held in the beautifully restored cabin of Frank Bird Linderman; on the grounds of the historic Robber’s Roost near Laurin, MT.  The general theme of the 2017 series focused upon notable Montana authors.

Dorothy Johnson (1905 - 1984) was the author of numerous articles and books on western history and fiction. She is Montana's foremost writer of western fiction.  Her three most notable works, The Hanging Tree, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and A Man Called Horse, were made into movies. She grew up in Whitefish, where her talents as a writer quickly became apparent in her first jobs with the Whitefish and Kalispell newspapers. She sold her first article in the 1930's to the Saturday Evening Post for $400.00.  She wrote prolifically for the rest of her life.  Her nonfiction books include The Bloody Bozeman and the Bedside Book of Bastards.  During the course of her career she was a researcher at the Montana Historical Society, Manager of the Montana Press Association, and taught creative writing at the University of Montana.

Bob Brown is a native Montanan and a “shirt-tail” relative of the Linderman family.  He is a Navy veteran, earned a degree in history from MSU, was a high school history teacher, and served for 26 years in the Montana Legislature; as Secretary of State and concluding as President of the State Senate.  Although officially retired, he is a visiting lecturer on the American Civil War at the University of Montana, a contributing columnist to several Montana newspapers, and on the Board of Directors for the Montana Historical Society.

Financial support for this series was provided by Humanities Montana and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

June 30, 2017

Ken Egan book reading

Montana 1864, Hope and Dread in Montana Literature, and Writers Under the Rims: A Yellowstone County Anthology.


Ken Egan has served as the executive director of Humanities Montana since 2009. He earned his B.A. in English at the University of Montana, his M.A. and Ph.D. in American Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He taught English at Middlebury College, Rocky Mountain College, and Drury University.  He served as department and divisional chair at Rocky and Drury and sat on the board of Humanities Montana (then Montana Committee for the Humanities) from 1989 to 1992. Egan is a member of the Leadership Montana Class of 2013. His books include Montana 1864, Hope and Dread in Montana Literature, and Writers Under the Rims: A Yellowstone County Anthology.

Financial support for this series was provided by Humanities Montana and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

June 25, 2017

Jack Horner : Why Dinosaurs had Horns, Shields, Spikes,and other Accoutrements


Paleontologist Jack Horner discovered the first dinosaur eggs in the Western Hemisphere, the first evidence of dinosaur colonial nesting, the first evidence of parental care among dinosaurs, and the first dinosaur embryos.  

Horner's research covers a wide range of topics about dinosaurs, including their behavior, physiology, ecology and evolution. Due to struggles with the learning disability, dyslexia, Horner does not hold a formal college degree but was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Montana in 1986. Also in 1986 he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.  

He's the retired Curator of Paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana, and is widely acknowledged to be the inspiration for the main character in the book and film Jurassic Park.

June 9, 2017

Artist of the Month reception

~ Richard Flager, sculptor/painter/photographer


Richard Flager was born and raised in Sheridan Montana and has resided in this great state his whole life. Richard has always been interested in all forms of art and the intricate detail of nature. Detail is what you will see in all forms of his art including the beautiful curves and smoothness of his sculpture capturing a statement in each art piece. Richard moves into the exquisite colors of natural flora of Montana down to the most delicate dewdrop. View the numerous photographs that this artist has taken while in the back hills of Montana so prevalent of the beautiful valleys and mountains of the Sheridan and Dillon Montana countryside. Totem Poles are the most current artwork being constructed by Mr. Flager and at times you will see him with a double hood jacket and sweatshirt outside in the cold working on his lates Totem Pole. This wonderful Montana artist has a variety of ways expressing his artistic talent.