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BLM Partners with Library to Document Montana Pioneers

 story and photos by
Craig Flentie
Central Montana District

 Fullbright Family

Fulbright Family 1915

Fullbright Homestead
Fulbright Homestead near Ingomar 1915

In preparation for the 150th Anniversary of the 1862 Homestead Act, the BLM, in partnership with the Lewistown Public Library, is gathering and preserving historic documentation of central Montana homesteads. 

“We are asking families to bring in historic photos and documents, postcards and letters, so that we can scan them and add them to the Montana Memory Project’s website,” said Archaeologist Zane Fulbright. 

The Montana Memory Project is the Montana Historical Society’s digital archives and library, and is free and available to the public. Many historic photos documenting life in and around central Montana have already been added to this website, thanks to the efforts of the Lewistown Public Library staff.

May 20, 2012, is the actual anniversary date, and May is also recognized as Historic Preservation Month. We would like to have a good collection of historic records scanned by that time so we can create a public display for the commemoration. Once we scan the images we can also create a digital copy for the families for their own personal use. Too often historic photos get left in a box in the closet and nobody ever looks at them. Then down the road they either get damaged or people forget who’s in the picture. This is an opportunity to preserve the images and capture the personal stories associated with them.

For more information about the Montana Memory Project please contact Nancy Watts at the Lewistown Public Library, or visit If you would like to schedule a time to scan your photos or documents please contact Zane Fulbright at the BLM at 538-1923, or