Evan Barrett, Executive Producer


“There is no better way to learn about history than to hear it first hand from those who lived it. Such a “living history” of the important chapter of change in Montana from 1965-80 needs to be chronicled on film for future generations and Evan Barrett of Montana Tech is uniquely qualified to tell the story and put it in perspective. Who better than a man who not only witnessed it first hand, but had a hand in it himself, while along the way working for two governors, a congressman and a US Senator? Evan’s inside knowledge and experience promise to add depth and make this important project a success. His relationships with and understanding of the key players of this challenging era, from both political parties, and his engaging personality will result in intriguing interviews for all to see and hear. Through this project I’m looking forward to learning more about this important period of transformation of Montana. And through it we can all gain a better understanding and appreciation of where we’ve been - and how we arrived at where we are today.”

Jay Kohn, News anchor/ Reporter - Montana Television Network 1978 - present

“History can be directly brought to life by the real voices and faces of those who lived and made it. Evan Barrett has identified the key makers of Montana History in the period 1965-80, and through his personal involvement in the politics of Montana during that time, has the knowledge and perspective for conducting filmed interviews with them that will make possible their own direct accounts of the history they lived come alive. Barrett's critically timely project of recorded interviews encompassing the period of what historians are coming to recognize as "Montana's second progressive era," will be an invaluable contribution to the history of our state. This project is a very important one, and the time to do it is now.”

Bob Brown, Retired Senior Teaching and Research Fellow, U of MT

Former Montana State Senate President and Secretary of State

“Oral history is an essential key to unlocking the recent past. Based upon the quality of Evan Barrett’s filmed oral history with former Montana Governor Ted Schwinden [Reflections on Montana’s Years of Transformational Change], Barrett’s proposed series of detailed interviews with important Montana historical figures from the period of 1965-1980 will open up new avenues of understanding for contemporary Montanans. The voices of the participants explaining how and why they took the actions they did and how they understood the events and personalities at the time and understand them now in retrospect provides a valuable window into the past. The interviews carry with them the culture and heritage of the Montanans who are telling their own story in their own words about the part of the world that is so important to them. And the Barrett’s use of filmed interviews/discussions as the medium deepens the understanding and opens new doors for broad dissemination of the gathered historical reflections. ”

John T. McNay, PhD

Professor, Dept. of History, University of Cincinnati – Blue Ash

BA, Journalism, 1980; MA, History, 1991 (University of Montana); PhD, History 1997 (Temple University)

“Evan Barrett has identified a heretofore neglected stretch of Montana history (1965-80) as the subject of a new series of filmed oral history interviews similar to the one he has already completed with former Montana Governor Ted Schwinden. Academic historians eventually will give this era its due, but in the meantime, Barrett’s path-breaking course at Montana Tech on “20th Century Montana” provided his students and townspeople an unprecedented exposure to a stellar line-up of persons who had not only made history, but who had the perspective and intellectual tools to preserve it in this manner. Based on this experience, I strongly believe Barrett - with his own long and distinguished involvement in Montana politics and government and his credibility with leaders in both political parties, business & academia - is uniquely qualified to enlarge on what he has already done by probing deeper with a series of filmed interviews. His filmed oral history project definitely deserves financial support as the films will fill a void in our understanding of contemporary Montana history.”

Lawrence K. Pettit, PhD

B.A. University of Montana;

M.A. Washington University in St. Louis Ph.D. University of Wisconsin

Retired President of Pennsylvania State University and Southern Illinois University;

Former History Professor Montana State University

“I recently spent four hours interviewing Evan Barrett for an article I researched and wrote for Montana, The Magazine of Western History, about the political career of Forrest Anderson and his remaking of Montana government during his term as governor, 1968-1972. Anderson’s short career as Governor was the beginning of a transformational period in twentieth century Montana, beginning with executive reorganization, continuing with a new constitution, and the implementation of both of those major efforts. As it turned out, Evan Barrett, fresh out of college, started as a researcher for the Executive Reorganization Commission, going on to become a major player in the state Democratic Party and the administration of Governor Thomas Judge. Evan’s experience during this pivotal time of 1965-1980 makes him the ideal interviewer of the major players of both parties who took part in this unique period in Montana politics and government organization, most of whom he knows personally. The history Evan purposes to document on film is critical to Montana and Montanans but much bigger than that; Montana is also a reflection of the dramatic change at the national level. Funding this important project will advance our understanding of ourselves as citizens of a great state.”

Brian Shovers

Library Manager, Oral Historian

Montana Historical Society

“More than any other medium, video provides us with a window into events and people of the past. Throughout my 30 years in broadcast journalism, I was able to witness history and interact with people involved in historical events. Recognizing the importance of recording and preserving events and individuals, I take great pride in having conducted and preserved interviews with people who are no longer alive--from Mike Mansfield to George McGovern to James Welch to Elouise Cobell.

“We all suffer when significant Montanans pass away without readily accessible video recordings that allow us to hear their words, share their memories, and understand their values, perspectives and beliefs. Evan Barrett's project, "In the Crucible of Change," creating 30 1-hour programs featuring Montanans who influenced events from the 1965-1980 period that so greatly changed our state, can be a significant gift to current and future generations of Montanans.

“As time passes, more of these remarkable Montanans will be lost to us, so Evan Barrett's project is both important and timely, creating a product with lasting value at a reasonable cost.”

Ian Marquand

30 year Montana broadcast journalist


“MONTANA HISTORY……………….1965-1980

“I believe the funding of this request to be urgent and I strongly support it. We are losing the first person memory of the political and cultural events of this important fifteen-year history. Many of the critical participants of this important time have passed; others…including me… now have many candles on our cakes.

“Evan Barrett is particularly capable of developing this series of filmed interviews because he, too, was actively engaged during those years; he knows the participants and, perhaps more important, he is one of the few Montanans who understands which questions to ask. That is, Evan Barrett understands what to leave out and what to put in so as to truly create an understanding of Montana’s scaffolding, its architects, and construction during those decades.”

Pat Williams

Retired Senior Teaching and Research Fellow, U of MT

Former Montana legislator & US Congressman