Montana State University

MSU to create exhibit about Ivan Doig for Big Sky Country State Fair

May 23, 2017 -- MSU News Service

The MSU Library will create an exhibit about Montana-born author Ivan Doig for the Big Sky Country State Fair. The exhibit will run concurrently with the fair, July 19-23 at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds in Bozeman. Photo courtesy Carol Doig.

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Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN -- The Montana State University Library will create an Ivan Doig archive exhibit for the 2017 Big Sky Country State Fair in Bozeman, to be held July 19-23 at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds. “Ivan Doig: Voices and Vistas” will be an interactive learning experience that encourages the exploration of the celebrated Montana author’s work, according to Jan Zauha, outreach librarian at the MSU Library.

Zauha said the exhibit will highlight the intertwined nature of reading, writing, research and lived experience by using components of the Ivan Doig Archive, which is housed physically at the MSU Library’s Special Collections and online at

Doig, the son of a ranch foreman and sheep herder, was a third-generation Montanan born in White Sulphur Springs. Doig’s first memoir, “This House of Sky,” is a reminiscence about his childhood in Montana. Though Doig eventually left Montana, he continued to use the people and landscapes of Montana as the backdrop for many of his books

The library is collaborating with Mike Everts, a professor in the MSU School of Architecture, and MSU architecture students to conceptualize the exhibit. Additional students will work together with library staff to build certain aspects of the exhibit.

In addition, Paul Lachapelle, associate professor in the Department of Political Science and an MSU Extension community development specialist, will be on-site to record interviews from individuals who wish to share stories about their life, community or impressions and thoughts on Doig’s work. The interviews are part of the Montana Community Story Project, a collaborative effort between MSU Extension, MSU Library and StoryCorps, an organization that collects personal narratives from ordinary people, in order to preserve and share humanity’s stories, according to the website

“The project’s goal is to educate citizens on the importance of documenting and preserving, archiving stories about the people and places that make their communities so special,” said Lachapelle, who is coordinating the project. “A secondary goal is to train community residents how to conduct interviews, record stories, preserve digital archives and create content to share online.”

Lachapelle hopes to collect stories from communities across Montana and place them in a permanent archive for future generations, both at the MSU Library and at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. 

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Yellowstone Writing Project, housed in the MSU Department of English, is partnering with MSU Library to host a writing competition that is open to all writers. “Voices and Vistas” will highlight the winners of the writing competition, and the Yellowstone Writing Project will coordinate activities for all ages throughout the fair.

The prompt for the competition is “Tell us your Montana Story.” All poetry submissions should have a maximum of 300 words. Prose, which may include short fiction or personal narrative/memoir, should have a maximum of 1,500 words. No more than two original photos may be submitted with or as part of an individual submission.

For more information about the writing competition, see page 8 of the Competitor's Guide at

Zauha said Doig’s books and other Montana-related titles will be available for purchase at the exhibit through Country Bookshelf bookstore. The Bozeman Public Library will partner with the MSU Library during the exhibit to provide content and programs promoting reading, Montana-related literature and exploration of the new BPL bookmobile.

Tickets for the fair are $10 for adults, $5 for youth ages 6-12 and $6 for seniors ages 62 and over. Children 5 and under are free. The fair will run from noon to 10 p.m. each day. The exhibit will be open during fair hours and is included in the general entrance fee.

For more information about the exhibit, contact Zauha at (406) 994-6554 or

Contact: Jan Zauha, MSU Library, (406) 994-6554 or