The 2017 Advocacy Award went to the partnership of the MT Preservation Alliance, the MT History Foundation, and author/photographer Charlotte Caldwell for their “Big Sky Schoolhouses Statewide Preservation Project”. They have successfully advocated for the preservation of hundreds of rural school houses in Montana. During the past six years this non-profit partnership has raised awareness of the significance of Montana’s historic schoolhouses, and they are now a leading a statewide initiative to save them. Inspired by the 2012 publication of Ms. Caldwell’s beautiful book of photography and local narratives, Visions and Voices: Montana’s One-Room Schoolhouses, the partnership launched a grant program for schoolhouse preservation and an ambitious county-by-county inventory of every standing schoolhouse remaining in Montana. To-date they have raised funds to support two dozen schoolhouse preservation projects, and their inventory has recorded over 200 standing schoolhouses, with only 40 counties still to go! Two leading members of the Montana Preservation Alliance, Executive Director Chere Jiusto, and Outreach and Education Director Christine Brown accepted the award at the 2017 conference in Salt Lake City.
For more information on the VAF Advocacy Awards see our website.