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Big Sky Schoolhouse Survey

Montana’s rural schoolhouses are among the largest undocumented heritage resources in the nation and are disappearing at an alarming rate. To help solve this problem, Preserve Montana launched one of the most comprehensive projects in our organization’s history in 2015, and completed it in 2023.

This project is 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.

Schoolhouses Inventoried

Project Goals

By addressing the gap in our knowledge, we want to achieve the following goals with the help of Montanans from across the state.

  • Document every standing one- and two-room school.
  • Protect & preserve as many properties as possible.
  • Maintain records of all leveled schoolhouses.
  • Provide scholarly access to our comprehensive database.
  • Expand public awareness & support for preservation.
  • Supply reports, photos, and historical research to local museums & historical groups.

Final Report

  • 812 Schoolhouses Documented
  • 147,000 Square Miles Surveyed
  • 56 County Surveys Complete
  • 3,000+ Hours of Volunteer Work
  • 50+ Volunteers Engaged

Get Involved

Although the inventory project is complete, we still need passionate Montanans to complete the next phase —research. To learn more about how to get involved, share your research, or let us know that you think we missed a school, please contact us by clicking the button below.