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UM News
July 29, 2013

MISSOULA – In the history of the Montana Museum of Art & Culture at the University of Montana, there never has been a handbook highlighting the museum’s Permanent Collection of nearly 11,000 objects. In celebration of the upcoming 120th anniversary of the museum, MMAC published “The Art of the State: 120 Artworks for 120 Years.”

Throughout its history, the Montana Museum of Art & Culture has been committed to making its Permanent Collection not only an important resource for the University of Montana but also for the people of the state and region. The handbook presents 120 carefully selected pieces from the museum’s Permanent Collection, highlighting MMAC’s most significant resource and providing access to this unique and little-known treasure that belongs to all Montanans.

Planning for the handbook began in 2009, and its features include objects from MMAC’s distinguished collections of American and European paintings, prints, ceramics, photography, decorative, religious art, tapestries, Asian works on paper, traditional and contemporary Native American art and southeast Asian textiles.

While conducting research for the book, MMAC staff worked with international scholars, art historians and institutions including The British Museum in London, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and many more. Each entry includes a complete caption detailing the artist, their nationality and life-span dates, the object’s title, date, medium, size, signature information and donor information, along with a brief biographical note and object history.           

“Without countless generous collectors and donors over the past 120 years, the MMAC Permanent Collection would not exist,” said Barbara Koostra, director of the MMAC. “The handbook publicly recognizes donor generosity in building this collection.”

The vast collection – Montana’s largest public art collection – does not have a dedicated facility. MMAC exhibits are displayed in the Meloy and Paxson galleries in the Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center at UM, and other pieces are displayed in buildings across the campus. The majority of the Permanent Collection remains in storage.

“This handbook provides needed public awareness of MMAC’s lack of a much-needed museum building,” Koostra said. “As the only designated state museum dedicated to fine art and culture, it is vital this vast resource be made more readily available to Montana and the region.”

Generous printing support for “The Art of the State: 120 Artworks for 120 Years.” was supplied by the Gallagher Western Montana Charitable Foundation. The Morris and Helen Silver Foundation underwrote photography and additional printing costs. Design, editing and printing costs were supported by Cultural and Aesthetic Project grant funds from the state of Montana.  In addition, support was received from the UM offices of the president, provost and vice president for integrated communications, and MMAC donors.      

Softcover handbooks are available for $35 and hardcovers cost $55. For more information or to pre-order the handbook, call 406-243-2019 or email Shipping and handling apply. For more information about the museum, visit

The MMAC will celebrate its 120th anniversary in 2015. Events include a major exhibition January through May, featuring all 120 pieces included in the handbook and additional special programs.

The MMAC’s summer hours are Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from noon to 3 p.m., and Friday from noon to 6 p.m. The museum is open to the public and accepts suggested donations of $5.


Note to media: Digital images of all 120 objects included in the handbook are available upon request by calling 406-243-2019.




Contact: Brandon Reintjes, curator of art, Montana Museum of Art & Culture at UM, 406-243-2019,