Summer Humanities Institute for High School Students


University of Montana Summer Humanities Institute:

Exploring the History of the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys


One Week: Monday, June 27 to Friday, July 1, 2022 

All day (9:00 AM to 4:00 PM)


University of Montana Campus (with walkable field trips and site visits)


Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors (15-19 years old) currently enrolled in Missoula-area high schools who love history, social studies, and the humanities and want to learn more about the fascinating history of the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys!

The institute will be led by UM History Department Professors Dr. Eric Zimmer and Dr. Claire Arcenas, assisted by a UM History Graduate Teaching Assistant.

How Much?

No cost! Thanks to support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, this institute is free for participants. Lunch and snacks will be provided. Program materials & parking (if needed) are also covered.

How to Apply

Applications are now open! We are accepting applications on a rolling basis and encourage you to apply early​. We have a limited number of spots available, so apply now to secure yours!

Next Application Deadline: Sunday, May 15th, 2022

Applications Link

Additional Details

With support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the University of Montana History Department is piloting a week-long summer humanities institute that will introduce high school students from the Missoula area to the study of history and collegiate life at the University of Montana. The Summer 2022 institute will inspire students to pursue their passion for history and the humanities. It will be directed by two faculty members in the UM History Department with help from a graduate teaching assistant.

The theme of this year’s institute is “Exploring the History of the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys.” Over the course of the week, students will take a deep, experiential dive into the history of Missoula and the surrounding area, including the Clark Fork River, the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys, and prominent landmarks and communities. We will begin with an exploration of early Indigenous inhabitants of this area and examine how the processes of settlement and development have shaped and reshaped the Missoula community and contributed to broader processes underway in Montana, the American West, and the United States.

Students will also be introduced to the many ways in which history is relevant to individuals, families, communities, businesses, and organizations of all kinds. They will learn how historians ask challenging questions about the past and conduct archival research, perform oral history interviews, and implement other approaches to answer those questions and convey knowledge to the broader public. In support of these objectives, the institute will feature guest speakers, visits to area libraries, archives, museums, interpretive centers, walking tours, and more!

Along the way, students will also get a taste of college life at the University of Montana. Tours of the dormitories, University Center, Mansfield Library, and other facilities will allow students to experience what it means to become a UM Grizzly.