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Our Work...

The O'Connor Center is a research and public education program focused on building a better understanding of the rich past and promising future of the Rocky Mountain West region of the U.S. and Canada.  By expanding its view of the entire Rocky Mountain West from its home in Missoula, Montana, the O'Connor Center is uniquely positioned to do work of significance to the entire region.  Regions emerge from real connections between people and places. The Center honors these connections by reaching across the boundaries of disciplines, ideologies, and political jurisdictions to affirm the growing importance of land-based and regionally defined places in cultural, social, and economic life.

Working up and down regional scales across the disciplines of history, socioeconomics, and public policy, the Center engages in wide-ranging activities in research, teaching, and public education.

Regional history and culture - Only in the telling of the region's stories can the patterns of living here be revealed and understood.  Through public presentations and conversations - lectures, symposia, exhibits, publications, and scholarly research - we offer opportunities to celebrate the region's culture, understand its heritage, and weave varying threads of our regional identity.

Regional economy - Throughout history, regions that prosper, both materially and culturally, are ones that understand their past as well as continually engage in shaping their future.  The region's economy is changing in dramatic ways and this change offers both challenges and opportunities.  Successfully adapting to this change requires constant learning at the community and regional levels.

Regional public policy - From population growth to energy development to public lands management, the Rocky Mountain West faces unique challenges in public policy.  The region has a long history of divisiveness and brittleness in many important areas of political discourse.  We attempt to bring additional information and understanding to important issues, and work in partnership with others to explore possibilities for the future.