We hope your holidays have been healthy and relaxing. For any number of reasons, I
failed to put out a Fall 2015 newsletter. This issue catches up on all the news. I will
categorize them according to MCHCE’s various activities for the past year.
National History Day
After some hesitation, MCHCE assumed responsibility for organizing National History
Day (NHD) in Montana schools as well as sponsoring the MT NHD state competition.
The first MCHCE-sponsored state competion held on March 28th at Sacajawea Middle
School in Bozeman. It was a great success, thanks to all our volunteers and the
outstanding leadership of MCHCE board member Michael Herdina who teaches 8th grade
history at Gallatin Gateway School.
The 2015 state competition attracted over a 205 student participants and 101 entries in five categories: Junior and Senior research paper, individual and group exhibits, documentaries, and websites – as well as nearly 200 teachers, parents, grandparents, and volunteers. MCHCE was able to stage this event because of generous contributions from the Montana Historical Society and Humanities Montana. Without their generous support, this event would not have been possible.
Our heartfelt thanks goes out to Michael Herdina, MCHCE Board Member and MT NHD Director who has tirelessly sought grants and awards to fund NHD in Montana, including the following:
The MacMillan Award of $15,000 for the 2015-2016 season and $15,000 for the 2016-2017 season, 30K in all, a sum that will keep the state competition funded for at least three years. MT NHD accordingly is the one bright spot in MCHCE finances this year.
The CM Russell Museum will sponsor our 2016 NHD T-shirt/ button design contest and, as a prize for the best design, will provide a gift basket that includes a membership to the museum and guest passes.
A grant of $500 from the Montana History Foundation.
A gift basket from the Museum of the Rockies for student contestants’ best use of their photo archives.
MHS also is sponsoring the Edgerton award for best use of the Chronicling America website by NHD participants. They are also in the process of putting together a $1000 travel stipend for a winning entry about Montana history that is eligible for the NHD National competition.
The 2015-2016 Montana state National History Day competition will be held at Sacajawea Middle School in Bozeman on Saturday, April 2nd. We are looking for judges and volunteers to help us run the event. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Michael (firstname.lastname@example.org). Latest news is that Tom Rust
will run a regional NHD competition in Billings and then send finalists to the state competition. We need at least 30 volunteers to make this event work. Please help us out.
Incidentally, it is not too late for teachers to organize a 2016 NHD team. Contact Michael Herdina (email@example.com) for advice and assistance for your projects. Also, Martha Kohl (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the Montana Historical Society is a strong supporter of the program and has offered her advice and support for your students’ NHD research projects.
2015 Montana History Teacher of the Year.
At its May board meeting, MCHCE board members chose as its Gilder-Lehrman Montana History Teacher of the Year Ruth Ferris, the librarian of Washington Elementary School in Billings. Ruth is not only a highly acclaimed teacher of history– particularly through the use of primary sources– but also is a very active curriculum leader in both state and national venues.
Last year’s field of candidates were very competitive. This year, we already have four nominations of the award, which carries with it a $1000 award and an opportunity to compete for the National History Teacher of the Year. We, therefore, encourage you to nominate or ask a principal or parent to nominate a teacher that you believe deserves the award. For more information go to: http://www.gilderlehrman.org/programs- exhibitions/national-history-teacher-year. Deadline for nominations is February 16, 2016. This year’s competition is open to all history teachers in grades 7-12.
2015 MEA/MFT Educator’s Conference
MCHCE had an active presence at this years Educator’s Conference in Billings. Twenty- one presentations were made under the MCHCE banner, including our MCHCE Keynoter Sam Mihara who presented his “Memories of the Heart Mountain Concentration Camp.” Our heartfelt thanks go out to the following presenters: Sam Mihara, Chuck Broughton, Sally Broughton, Christina Chavarria, Jodi Delaney, Laura Ferguson, Ruth Ferris, Sonia Gavin, Michael Herdina, Terry Loner, Brian Mathis, Benjamin Nordlund, and Alex Rosenleaf, and Angie Weikert.
MEA/MFT is holding next year’s Educator’s Conference in Helena in October. Currently, MCHCE is discussing with the Montana Historical Society (MHS) the possibility of a jointly sponsored reception and a one-day institute at the MHS archives as part of the Conference. Consider sharing your expertise as a presenter at the 2016 Conference. After our January 16th Conference organizing committee meeting, we will send out information regarding how to register as a presenter.
National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks Grant
For the past two years, MCHCE has applied unsuccessfully for an NEH Landmarks grant to fund two one-week traveling seminars focused on the history surrounding the Bozeman Trail. Researching and writing these grants consumes hundreds of hours, even the successive rewrites of the previous material in response to the evaluators’ comments. Will applying a third time be the charm? We’re pretty discouraged but haven’t yet abandoned the project.
MCHCE Website and Facebook Page
MCHCE continues to maintained regularly updated website (www.mchce.net) and Facebook, and Pintrest (https://www.pinterest.com/mchce/) pages with information on history and history education, including useful lesson plans. Visit us there.
We ask all your recipients of this newsletter to consider joining or renewing your MCHCE membership. MCHCE Membership dues are $30, and membership carries with it a year’s subscription to The Montana Historical Society’s Montana: The Magazine of Western History. Of late, MCHCE has run on a shoestring budget and on the volunteer work of Danice Toyias (Deputy Director), Michael Herdina (NHD State Director), and myself. You may submit your membership or membership renewal on line at www.mchce.net or by printing out and sending in the mail-in form.