Wednesday, August 17, 2022

John White Speaker Series returns to History Museum

| January 6, 2022 12:00 AM

For 19 years, the Northwest Montana Historical Society’s John White Speaker Series has been a local highlight of the winter season, promising a slate of engaging and insightful discussions.

This year the popular series will be available in both in-person and digital presentations.

Here is a look at what’s on the docket for the 2022 John White Speaker Series:

Feb. 6 — Flathead Lake Biological Station ecologist Tom Bansak will present “Morton Elrod: Montana’s Pioneer Renaissance Man.”

In 1897, Morton John Elrod came to Big Sky Country as the first professor of biology at the University of Montana. His travels around Western Montana are legendary. Elrod founded the Flathead Lake Biological Station in 1899 and, in the ensuing decade, became Glacier National Park’s first naturalist, writing its first guidebook and the first scientific papers to come from Glacier.

Feb. 20 — The museum will stream the PBS documentary “For This and Future Generations,” originally produced 20 years ago to commemorate the 1972 Montana Constitutional Convention to celebrate the convention’s 50th anniversary. With an introduction from longtime state legislator and Historical Society board member Bob Brown, attendees will learn the details behind this irreplicable document that is arguably worth more than all the gold in Montana.

March 6 — Josephine Doody, the Bootleg Lady of Glacier Park, is now celebrated as an icon of the Middle Fork of the Flathead, but how much is the woman and how much is the legend? Local author John Fraley will try to untangle fact from fiction. "Betty the Trapper" was one of the last people alive who knew Josephine and even spent time at Josephine's homestead in Glacier Park. Betty died a few years ago. John will recount the story of spreading her ashes on the top of Great Northern Mountain, as well as many other new stories about Middle Fork pioneers since the original edition of his book “Wild River Pioneers” was published in 2008.

March 20 — Northwest Montana History Museum director Jacob Thomas will be joined by Brit Clark of the Conrad Mansion Museum and Alyssa Cordova of the Hockaday Museum of Art to discuss life behind the museum walls in their presentation “ The Joys and Challenges of the Museum Profession in Kalispell.”

All John White Series presentations are Sundays at 2 p.m.

New for 2022, the museum will offer three different ways to experience the John White Speaker Series:

• Members of the Northwest Montana Historical Society can reserve the entire series for a discounted rate of $35.

• General admission to each individual event is $10 per person.

All admission sales include a digital version of the presentation, to be provided by email the day after the event. Purchase in person at the museum, located at 124 Second Ave. E. in downtown Kalispell, or call 406-756-8381 to register and pay by credit card.

• Digital-only access will be available on the museum’s website ( for $8 per event, and will also include entry to the “overflow” room at the museum with a live-stream during the presentation. Like the other John Whites Series option, the digital version of the presentation will be provided the day after the event.

Due to health and safety preclusions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, in-person attendance will be limited, so advance reservations are highly recommended. If you have questions or would like more information, contact the Northwest Montana History Museum at 406-756-8381, or by email at


Josephine Doody, known as the "Bootleg Lady of Glacier Park," is now celebrated as an icon of the Middle Fork of the Flathead.

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