The Montana Historical Society is bringing the 43rd Montana History Conference to Hamilton and Stevensville this year. The sessions run Thursday through Saturday.

The conference "Roots & Branches: 175 Years of Montana History," coincides with the 175th anniversary of the founding of St Mary's Mission in Stevensville when Jesuit missionaries arrived in the valley at the request of Native Americans.

The conference has quite a few sessions dealing with Bitterroot history - such as the the Rocky Mountain Lab, Bitterroot politics, the Nez Perce Trail, Lewis and Clark, natural history from apples to logging and Major John Owen.

But that's not all. Other topics include gravestone preservation, an educators workshop, grant-writing, recent research, an archives workshop, and mountain men.

Sessions will be held at the Bitterroot River Inn, with trips to (among other places) the Ravalli County Museum, the Corvallis Cemetery, the Daly Mansion, Travelers' Rest State Park and, of course, the Founders Day activities Saturday in Stevensville.

At a Friday Awards Banquet, the featured talk will be "Explaining Montana to Non-Montanans: The Jesuit Letter Collections, 1830-1880."

The Montana Historical Society organizes the yearly conference, with major sponsors this year - the Montana History Foundation and the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation.

KLYQ Radio 1240 AM will have guests from the Montana Historical Society on the Friday "Event Show" at 8 a.m.