Build

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link




Construction began in Fall 2020 and the Montana Heritage Center will open Summer 2025. Here is a list of current happenings for the Montana Heritage Center:

  • Sixth Avenue is permanently closed between North Roberts and North Sanders streets for construction of the addition.
  • Building permits with the city of Helena are secured.
  • Construction crews are working long hours to take advantage of Montana’s short building season.
  • The Veterans and Pioneers Historic Building renovation began May 2023.
  • The Museum and Library and Archives (previously Research Center) are closed.
  • The Museum Store remains open in it's current location in the historic building.
  • Some program staff moved to a temporary location while the collections staff are working in the historic building as it undergoes major renovations.
  • The high density storage system for the museum artifacts are being installed.
  • Landscaping is ongoing.
  • Design of the galleries and displays is ongoing.




We held a Topping out Ceremony in May 2022, acknowledging the important work construction contractors play in the building process. Two beams traveled to schools across the state where students signed them. These were then signed by dignitaries and major donors, MTHS staff, and members before they were hoisted into place in what will be the Montana Homeland Gallery. Once construction is complete, these beams will be revealed in the gallery permanently.

Featured guests included MTHS Director Molly Kruckenberg, Gov. Greg Gianforte, Contractor Erik Sletten, and Dennis and Phyllis Washington, whose foundation donated $25 million for the project.

“Topping out ceremonies are held to celebrate a major milestone in a construction project,” Kruckenberg said.

Often the workers, students, and others connected to the project are given the opportunity to sign the topping out beams to be part of history. Hundreds of students at 15 schools across Montana put their signatures on the beam because not only are they learning about Montana history in class, they also are living in historic times.

In America, the Topping Out practice includes putting a tree and a flag on the top beam, often hoisted to signal those below that the framing was complete.


We held a ground-blessing ceremony on Sept. 2, 2020. Afterward, the construction fencing went up and the site was prepared for construction by moving the MHS outdoor sculptures to safer ground. Sletten Construction completed site preparation by moving utility lines and demolishing the existing parking lot. As of Summer 2021, the new Fish Wildlife and Parks ADA parking lot is completed on the east side of the existing MHS building. This parking lot will be closed during portions of the construction project. Check in for updates and news on our Events Page.





Construction began in Fall 2020 and the Montana Heritage Center will open Summer 2025. Here is a list of current happenings for the Montana Heritage Center:

  • Sixth Avenue is permanently closed between North Roberts and North Sanders streets for construction of the addition.
  • Building permits with the city of Helena are secured.
  • Construction crews are working long hours to take advantage of Montana’s short building season.
  • The Veterans and Pioneers Historic Building renovation began May 2023.
  • The Museum and Library and Archives (previously Research Center) are closed.
  • The Museum Store remains open in it's current location in the historic building.
  • Some program staff moved to a temporary location while the collections staff are working in the historic building as it undergoes major renovations.
  • The high density storage system for the museum artifacts are being installed.
  • Landscaping is ongoing.
  • Design of the galleries and displays is ongoing.




We held a Topping out Ceremony in May 2022, acknowledging the important work construction contractors play in the building process. Two beams traveled to schools across the state where students signed them. These were then signed by dignitaries and major donors, MTHS staff, and members before they were hoisted into place in what will be the Montana Homeland Gallery. Once construction is complete, these beams will be revealed in the gallery permanently.

Featured guests included MTHS Director Molly Kruckenberg, Gov. Greg Gianforte, Contractor Erik Sletten, and Dennis and Phyllis Washington, whose foundation donated $25 million for the project.

“Topping out ceremonies are held to celebrate a major milestone in a construction project,” Kruckenberg said.

Often the workers, students, and others connected to the project are given the opportunity to sign the topping out beams to be part of history. Hundreds of students at 15 schools across Montana put their signatures on the beam because not only are they learning about Montana history in class, they also are living in historic times.

In America, the Topping Out practice includes putting a tree and a flag on the top beam, often hoisted to signal those below that the framing was complete.


We held a ground-blessing ceremony on Sept. 2, 2020. Afterward, the construction fencing went up and the site was prepared for construction by moving the MHS outdoor sculptures to safer ground. Sletten Construction completed site preparation by moving utility lines and demolishing the existing parking lot. As of Summer 2021, the new Fish Wildlife and Parks ADA parking lot is completed on the east side of the existing MHS building. This parking lot will be closed during portions of the construction project. Check in for updates and news on our Events Page.


  • Buttoning Up the Addition

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    Construction of the Montana Heritage Center in Helena is slightly ahead of schedule, which means the Montana Historical Society has ramped up the anticipated temporary closures. We’re finding new ways to fulfill the publics’ needs while having limited access to our artifacts and documents.

    Many of our items are available for viewing online. They include more than 40,000 artifacts, nine exhibits, one million-plus pages of newspapers, 100,000 books, letters, lesson plans, photographs, and much more. Just call 406/444-2694 and our staff will help you find what you’re seeking.

    MTHS Director Molly Kruckenberg notes that while she would rather remain open during construction, the staff must inventory, pack, and store the priceless art, artifacts, and documents to protect them. The galleries will be used for storage and office space.

    The Library & Archives reference room closed Dec. 15 for about two years while we pack items, move out of our offices, and reopen on the main floor of our renovated building.

    Our final galleries closed in January 2023, as construction workers moved into the 70-year-old Veterans and Pioneers Building to do the renovations. They started in the basement with utility upgrades, then they’ll tackle the second and third floors, before wrapping up on the first floor.

    “Our staff will remain in our offices as long as possible, but clearly the construction renovations will be impactful,” MTHS Director Molly Kruckenberg said. “We’re trying to minimize the disruption, but some staff will temporarily work from home and we’re also seeking alternative office space for others.

    “We apologize for any hardships that creates, but know that when we reopen early 2025, our expanded and renovated facility will be worth the temporary disruption in services.”

    The MTHS also is seeking a temporary space in which to relocate the museum store. Until then, it will remain open in its current location at 225 No. Roberts in Helena. People can shop online anytime at app.mt.gov/shop/mhsstore/

    The popular public programs will be held at the Lewis and Clark Library at 120 So. Last Chance Gulch in Helena and will change to a 6:30 p.m. start on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month to better accommodate the public. The program schedule is at mths.mt.gov

  • Progress = Yellow + Black

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    The building is now almost entirely enclosed (yellow) and is being weather proofed (black). As the summer days end, construction crews are quickly finishing this critical phase so interior work can ramp up as the we go into the cooler months. You can really see the shape of the addition now.

  • Topping Out Ceremony

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    We did it!

    On May 17, the Montana Historical Society, along with Sletten Construction and Cushing Terrell architects, held a "Topping Out" ceremony that celebrates setting the highest steel beam in place. The ceremony started with an honor song and blessing by Smokey Rides at the Door, a Blackfeet tribal member. Dignitaries said a few words about their roll in the project and the significance of it.

    MTHS Director Molly Kruckenberg said the heritage center will be more than a building that is the home of the big history of the Big Sky state.

    “It will be a community space that invites conversation between generations. It will be a place that inspires visitors to explore our past and to learn from it,” she said. “It will share the stories of all Montanans, to provide meaning for today and vision for tomorrow."

    Erik Sletten noted the three milestones for projects, including the groundbreaking at the beginning and ribbon cutting at the end, and the topping out ceremony, which is his favorite because it celebrates the builders and craftspeople. It's a time to recharge, rest, and reflect on a project, and comes at a major milestone in a construction project.

    Hundreds of students at 15 schools across Montana signed the beam, which toured across Montana two weeks prior to the ceremony. Attendees at the May 17 event also signed the beam.

  • The Big Pour, First Floor

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    With 55-degree temperatures, nature cooperated on Feb. 10, 2022, as we poured the concrete slab for the main floor immediately adjacent to the existing Montana Historical Society building.

  • Great View from the Construction Cam

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    Be sure to check our live construction camera at http://137.26.89.246:81/mjpg/Cam1?user=mtstate&pw=135246 to watch us grow!

  • Taking Shape!

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    The walls are going up and it's now easy to see how the Montana Heritage Center addition will connect with our historic building. Construction work is starting early and staying late, even as December's darkness descends on us from the 8 a.m. sunrise to the 4 p.m. sunset. Crews are using huge spotlights to keep moving forward.

  • Climbing the Walls

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    The concrete walls are poured!! Workers climbed the rebar, and added insulation to protect the building during cold weather. Plans are in place that will allow construction to continue even in winter. Thank you for all your support!

  • The Big Pour Begins

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    This week, we started pouring the foundation for the Montana Heritage Center - a whopping 200 cubic yards of concrete! Crews are working long hours even as the days get shorter, and expect to be working throughout the winter. In anticipation of colder temperatures, they've gathered ground warming materials that will allow them to proceed throughout the year.

  • Foundation begins next week.

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    The foundation for the Montana Heritage Center will begin next week! There will be increased traffic and exciting progress on site. The site is prepped and ready to go. Some of the Montana Historical Society staff are now working in offices with boarded up windows as we connect the two buildings together. This is going to provide the optimal visitor experience to the Heritage Center as all galleries and public spaces will be on one level. The project team and staff of the Montana Heritage Center have been working hard for many years to make this happen.

  • Excavation Work

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    Excavation work for the foundation footings will be ongoing this week. The construction team anticipates that rebar will be arriving by the end of August and foundation work will follow. The goal is to get the foundation work completed before the winter weather arrives.

Page last updated: 22 Aug 2023, 03:40 PM