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After the Legislature voted to approve the Montana Museums Act in 2019, the MHC Building Committee reconvened more than a decade after the project was first conceptualized. The site selection process (visit https://montanamuseum.org/select to learn more) determined that the best location - for a variety of reasons - remained the site at 6th Avenue & Roberts St.
In the course of reviewing plans from 2009, however, there was further discussion of the logistical and construction costs of maintaining two separate buildings across 6th Avenue, as originally envisioned. It was determined that connecting the new expansion to the existing Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building would save money, increase parking, and create a better experience for visitors.
The new building expansion will connect to the existing home of the Montana Historical Society across 6th Avenue. A new entrance and café plaza will connect the two buildings. The interior spaces of the Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building will be renovated. The building itself, however, is on the National Register of Historic Places and the exterior of the building will not be altered.
The building addition will both honor and complement this historic building. Learn more about the design inspiration and plans here.
During this discussion, many community members understandably expressed concern about the impact this closure would have on the Capitol campus and the surrounding neighborhood. We intentionally created opportunities for the community members to share their perspectives on this change.
Learn more about the decision-making process:
March 24, 2020 - Completed Traffic Study
Prior to seeking the approval of the City of Helena for the permanent closure, we engaged a consultant to complete a traffic study of the potential impact.
April 21, 2020 - Community Open House
The MHC project team held a community open house (virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions) to present the design concept. In order to get the word out, we canvassed the surrounding neighborhood to invite neighbors, contacted the Helena Citizens Council, and shared the meeting on social media channels and in the press.
May 13, 2020 - Helena City Commission Administrative Meeting
May 15, 2020 - Updated Traffic Study
In response to comments we received during the public outreach, we completed an updated traffic study.
May 18, 2020 - Helena City Commission Meeting
The Helena City Commission considered a resolution of intention to vacate 6th Avenue R/W between N. Roberts Street and Sanders Street.
June 4, 2020 – Neighborhood Meeting
The design team held an online discussion with neighbors of the Montana Heritage Center to discuss traffic impacts and potential traffic calming measures.
June 8, 2020 - Helena City Commission Public Hearing
The Helena City Commission considered the resolution of intention to vacate 6th Avenue R/W between N. Roberts Street and Sanders Street and voted to approve the resolution.