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Montana Heritage Center

More than 10 years in the making, the $52.7-million Montana Heritage Center expansion and renovation project will be a state-of-the-art repository for the state’s historic collections and resources, serving as a place for learning and discovery. When complete, the project will nearly double the size of the existing building and include 66,000 sq. ft. of new space, plus exterior and interior renovations to 66,995 sq. ft. of the existing 1952 Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building. The design melds old and new, using the space between the two structures to create a dramatic entry that will seamlessly connect the two facilities.

The project is made possible by a close partnership between Cushing Terrell, the Montana Historical Society, and Sletten Construction.

“The vision for who we can be in the future really has also been built into this process, bringing together diverse voices from across our state from east and west, north and south, our tribal nations, men and women, young and old — it will be reflected right here,” said Governor Steve Bullock at the ground blessing ceremony. “Those voices will shape its architecture and landscaping the way that our mountains and our plains and those winding rivers have shaped each and every one of us. This building design also looks to the future by incorporating sustainable features that will showcase the ingenuity and the values that make Montana such a special place.”

Taking inspiration from the state’s geology, the new building will appear to emerge from the earth, symbolically referencing the Lewis Overthrust, the geophysical collision of tectonic plates that drove one plate over another and helped to define Montana’s landscape. Built of the same sandstone as the historic structure, the new building will feature subtle patterning incised into the rock.

The landscape design will continue the sense of exploration with features and plantings that mimic (on a micro scale) the journey from the plains and grasslands to the foothills and forests and finally to mountain landscapes. Linking it all together is a river-like trail that will flow from one ecosystem to the next.

The design concept for the Montana Heritage Center is meant to convey the feeling that nature is a driving force behind why people live in the state. The building’s exterior represents the diverse and ever-changing Montana landscape, the backdrop for the lives of its residents. From the inside, the building is a vessel that preserves and highlights the remarkable stories of Montana’s people. With a commitment to sustainability and creating healthy spaces, the project is pursuing USGBC LEED and IWBI WELL certifications and is anticipated to be complete in 2024.

Read more about the Montana  Heritage Center on our blog and visit the MHC project site for updates.

Helena, MT

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