The Montana Historical Society intends to remain open to the public for the time being, holding normal 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. business hours Monday through Saturday, while the nation works through the COVID-19 outbreak.
However, as a precautionary measure to help protect the health of the public and our staff, the Original Governor’s Mansion in Helena is closed until further notice, and the Montana Historical Society is temporarily canceling all public programs. Group tours planned for the rest of this school year will be put on alert, with decisions made in cooperation with schools.
Outside groups who use our facilities are being contacted and asked to reschedule.
“We regret the inconvenience but appreciate your understanding,” Director Bruce Whittenberg said. “When the situation with COVID-19 improves, we will resume programming and work to reschedule events that were cancelled.”
If you do visit MHS, hand sanitizer is available at various stations, including at the front desk, and we are implementing additional cleansing measures for surfaces people touch often, like doors and railings.
We have asked staff to stay home if they feel ill, and we have canceled all out-of-state travel plans for the next 60 days. In-state travel is allowed, but with great caution, and we’re generally avoiding large gatherings.
While you’re practicing “social distancing,” this is a great opportunity to watch past programs from the sanctity of your own home. Check out our YouTube channel at https://bit.ly/2QaKOAT to enjoy a wide range of videos, including Haunted Marysville; Montana’s contribution to the eradication of polio; and the legend of Calamity Jane seen through the eyes of Dora DuFran, an historic madam and prominent socialite portrayed by actor Mary Jane Bradbury.
MHS is continuing to closely monitor COVID-19 through updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.
As we watch the COVID-19 cases spring up in the United States, many of us will experience increased anxiety and fear.
What each of us needs to know is that we are not passive, helpless witnesses watching this worldwide event. Individually and as a whole, we can reduce personal risks, as well as those risks to our communities, by taking simple precautions. As Gov. Bullock said in declaring a state of emergency yesterday, now is the time to plan, not panic.
Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay home if you feel ill. Get a flu shot so you won’t need medical treatment when health-care facilities are busy with Covid-19 cases. Don’t shake hands – a fist bump or elbow touch is sufficient – and kind of fun.
For more information, contact Eve Byron, MHS Public Information Officer, at 444-6843 or firstname.lastname@example.org