In 2019, The Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Common Heritage grant to conduct a two-year, two-phased project. The Archives and the Montana Preservation Alliance conducted four workshops to capture primary source materials, oral histories, artifacts, documents, and cultural works on four ethnic populations in Butte, Montana—the Jewish, German, Finnish, and Hispanic communities. The research resulted in exhibits highlighting each community, designed to build understanding and public appreciation of their ethnic role in Butte. Interpretive themes included experiential history, migration stories, social and ethnic traditions, roles in the labor force, women’s experience, community expressions, as well as place-based topics regarding settlement geography, ethnic institutions, and business patterns.
In addition to the NEH grant, this project was funded in part by coal severance taxes paid based upon coal mined in Montana and deposited in Montana’s cultural and aesthetic projects trust fund.
The Greater Montana Foundation funded the production of four one-hour radio programs on the Jewish, German, Finnish, and Hispanic communities, which can be listened to below. Butte Broadcasting Inc. partnered with the Archives to create these four narratives of Butte’s underrepresented communities. The Greater Montana Foundation benefits the people of Montana by encouraging communication, with an emphasis on electronic media, on issues, trends, and values of importance to present and future generations of Montanans.