Education

High School Curriculum for Then and Now: Re-Photographing Missoula

Jodi Allison-Bunnell
November 2007

Objectives

Students will improve skills in:

  • Visual literacy and analysis;
  • Accessing, organizing, applying, presenting, and reporting information;
  • Relating current events and issues to aspects of Montana history.

Time Required

One class period
Optional/enrichment exercise requires time outside class and an additional class session

Curriculum Fit

Montana: People and Issues

Standards

Missoula County Public Schools’ Social Studies Curriculum for the 9-12th grade levels (adopted June 2004). Specific learner competencies addressed are:

  • M5.4. Analyze the relationships between past and present economic and political events.
  • M6.3. Explore how human decisions and actions affected the land and its resources and how those decisions continue to impact modern-day issues.

Resources Used

Main lesson:

Optional/enrichment lesson:

  • Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
  • Missoula city directories, 1903-2007 (Missoula Public Library, Montana Room, 910.3)
  • Koelbel, Lenora. Missoula the Way it Was: A Portrait of an Early Western Town. Missoula, Mont.: Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, 2004 (Missoula Public Library, 978.685 KOELBEL)
  • Mathews, Allan. A Guide to Historic Missoula. Helena: Montana Historical Society Press, 2002. (Missoula Public Library, 978.685 MATHEWS)
  • James A. Cotter. These Five Valleys. Missoula, Mont.: The Missoulian, 1976. (Mansfield Library, Montana Collection Oversize 978.685 C847t)

Materials and Preparation

Worksheet: Photograph Observation

Procedure: Main Lesson

  1. Review the Missoula history timeline and Missoula history minutes. You will need them later in the lesson.
  2. Students will work in groups on the Photograph Observation Worksheet, with each group assigned to a pair of photographs from the collections of the University of Montana’s K. Ross Toole Archives.
  3. Bonita, MT: Then and Now
    Bonner, MT: Then and Now
    Missoula Hotel: Then and Now
    Spottswood Mansion: Then and Now
    Fort Missoula: Then and Now
    Front Street: Then and Now
    H.O. Bell House: Then and Now
    Higgins Avenue from Penwell: Then and Now
    Higgins Avenue looking north: Then and Now
    Pine Street: Then and Now
    Higgins Bridge looking east: Then and Now
    Courthouse: Then and Now
    Panoramic: Then and Now
    Rattlesnake: Then and Now
    Riverfront park: Then and Now
    UM: Then and Now

    Each group should report back to the class on what they’ve written down on their worksheets, and what questions they have about the images.

  4. Students will complete a one-page writing assignment in class, in which they should reflect on their findings and their remaining questions about the pair of images.

Optional/Enrichment Activity: Repeat Photography, Your Turn!

  1. Choose an image from the following selected materials at the University of Montana’s K. Ross Toole Archives:
  2. Use the Photograph Observation Worksheet to analyze the image and make a list of questions you have about it.
  3. If you’re having trouble locating the image on a map, use the city directories at the Missoula Public Library (Montana Room, 910.3) to look up the address by the business names in the image or its caption.
  4. Locate the place pictured on an historic map: Go to the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps http://www.co.missoula.mt.us/opgweb/HistPres/SanbornMaps.htm
  5. You’ll choose maps from Montana, then from Missoula. You’ll then be able to choose maps from a variety of years; choose the year closest to the date your photograph was taken.
  6. Depending on what year you choose, you’ll find anywhere from five to seventy map sheets in an index. Choose the first or second sheet to find the index by street; find the street on which your image was taken, note the sheet number, and go to that sheet. This map will show an aerial view of the block you have chosen, and will note types of construction and names of businesses.
  7. Go to the place from which the image was taken, taking a copy of the image with you. What does it look like now? Can you physically reach or safely be in the place from which it was taken? If so, spend some time there observing how the sunlight reaches the space and how it is similar or dissimilar to the historic image. Can you figure out the exact location from which the image was taken? Why or why not?
  8. Go to the Missoula Public Library or the Mansfield Library at the University of Montana and use these resources to answer some of the questions you have about the photograph:
    • Missoula city directories, 1903-2007 (Missoula Public Library, Montana Room, 910.3)
    • Koelbel, Lenora. Missoula the Way it Was: A Portrait of an Early Western Town. Missoula, Mont.: Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, 2004 (Missoula Public Library, 978.685 KOELBEL)
    • Mathews, Allan. A Guide to Historic Missoula. Helena: Montana Historical Society Press, 2002. (Missoula Public Library, 978.685 MATHEWS)
    • James A. Cotter. These Five Valleys. Missoula, Mont.: The Missoulian, 1976. (Mansfield Library, Montana Collection Oversize 978.685 C847t)
  9. If these books don’t answer your questions, ask a reference librarian for help.
  10. Taking a copy of the historic image with you, return with a digital camera to the place from which the historic image was taken. Take the image again.
  11. Write captions for both images that tell your audience about what they see in the image (who, what, when, where) and explain something about what changed and what stayed the same from one to the other. Present the images and captions to your class as a Powerpoint presentation or print exhibit.