M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust Awards $500,000 to Help Montana Historical Society Promote, Preserve Cultural Heritage

Montana Historical Society
  • August 10 2021

Helena, Mont. — The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust has awarded $500,000 to the Montana Historical Society (MHS) to help it preserve and promote the state’s cultural heritage through the renovation and construction of a new Montana Heritage Center. The funds will help MHS renovate its existing facility and construct a 64,000-square-foot addition.

 “The Montana Historical Society plays a key role in preserving the history and culture of Montana. Organizations like MHS help educate and inspire children and families while simultaneously helping build and strengthen bonds of community. It is wonderful to see their growth as a result of successfully serving this mission, and we are grateful to play a small role as they expand to serve even more members of the Montana community,” said Steve Moore, executive director, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.

 The grant to MHS reflects Murdock Trust’s continued investment in the Pacific Northwest, having contributed more than $99 million to nonprofits serving communities in Montana and $1.2 billion in the region overall since 1975. This includes $3.3 million during the past decade for arts and culture organizations in Montana.

“This project has been more than 15 years in the making, so we are thrilled to finally see it become a reality,” said MHS Director Molly Kruckenberg. “This grant from the Murdock Charitable Trust will ensure that MHS is able to continue promoting an understanding and appreciation of Montana’s rich culture ­for generations to come.”

 Established in 1865, MHS is one of the oldest institutions of its kind in the West. Since 1952, its home – and its vast collection of artifacts, photographs and documents – has been in the Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building in Helena. The society has outgrown the building, and the building needs some mechanical updates.

The Heritage Center project is receiving $42.2 million from the statewide accommodations tax, paid by those who rent hotel rooms or other accommodations in the state, with an additional $10 million raised by MHS. MHS is creating new interactive public areas, an additional collections space, a commons area connecting to a café, a gift shop and event center, reconfigured galleries, and enhanced workspaces for staff. It is set to open in 2024. 

About M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust

The Murdock Trust, created by the will of the late Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, provides grants to organizations in five states of the Pacific Northwest—Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington—that seek to strengthen the region’s educational, spiritual and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways. Since its inception in 1975, the Trust has awarded more than 7,500 grants totaling more than $1.2 billion. For more information, find the Murdock Trust on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and on our website.