HELENA – It’s well known that the Montana Historical Society is the place to go to learn about the state’s past.
But it’s also home to the archivists who are preserving events happening now, that will be the history of tomorrow.
It’s estimated that 10,000 people turned out at Montana’s State Capitol on last Saturday to take part in the Women’s March on Montana.
State Archivist Jodie Foley says by the time the event was over, it was clear it was something of historical significance.
“I think what’s extraordinary about this particular event is that the people who were participating had the same thought, so we were working together. At the end of the event, a lot of the signs that you see here were left with us because people had a sense that what they were doing was extraordinary,” says Foley.
In this digital age, what’s occurred on the internet cannot be overlooked as a way to document the event, just as the signs are a physical piece that will be preserved.
“We are in contact with the organizers of the march and our hope is that we can work with them to help preserve the Facebook page, the web page, a lot of the commentaries that came in, any kind of documentation of the organization as it came together. Because that’s as important as these tangibles,” says Foley.
Those tangibles include another common item that was seen in the sea of people: pink hats.
“It harkens back to domestic arts. So in that sense it’s really unique and it’s really exciting for archivists and museum folks to see this kind of documentation, as well,” adds Foley.
This is just the beginning, as those who work to piece together the various stories of the Women’s March ask for ongoing contributions of those who were there to experience it.
“If there are people who are interested in telling their stories to us, we have a set of questions, we’re glad to send them out. They can send their answers to us via email or just give us a call and ask how they can participate,” Foley says. “History isn’t in the past, it’s being made continually.”
The Montana Historical Society is reviewing donations of items related to the Montana’s Women’s March.
If you have signs, flyers, hats, etc. from the march you are interested in donating, please can contact Maggie Ordon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have stories you wish to share contact Jodie Foley, email@example.com.