Helena 2017

City of Helena – City Council Minute Books Preservation

The City of Helena was incorporated in 1881, and the Helena City Council began meeting and recording minutes detailing the actions of the mayor and alderman in establishing the framework and continuance of their municipal government. The information in the minutes often included the date, time, and location of the meeting as well as elected officials, businessmen, and members of the public present. Council minutes are an invaluable resource that provides insight to the development and growth of the Helena community, the cultural and political center of Montana. Some of these minutes are handwritten, and they are in bound volumes.

In 2013, the city began a project to digitize the city council minutes in order to preserve the information they contained. By creating a digitized, accessible copy of these records, the original documents can be preserved and maintained through the Montana Memory Project. Additionally, digitizing the physical documents ensures that minute books are not stolen, damaged, or otherwise compromised. By 2017, records from 1881 through 1943 had already been digitized, and the City received money from other sources to digitize records from 1943 though 1952. In 2017, the Montana History Foundation funded the City of Helena to digitize records from 1952 through 1961.