By Kristi Hager
Sponsored by Missoula Art Museum
TOUR SCHEDULE: 2024 – 2025
1. Explore the Arts, Hamilton, MT – January 29 – March 7, 2024
2. Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT – May 31 – July 12, 2024
3. MonDak Heritage Center, Sidney, MT – October 2, 2024 – January 8, 2025
This is an exhibit of Kristi Hager’s photographs of historic Montana structures. Over the past 20 years, Hager photographed of dams, power plants, missile sites, and bridges across Montana for the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), which are now archived in the Library of Congress. One of her mandates, aside from straight documentation of the site, was to produce an image of the highest aesthetic quality. This effort resulted in a vast archive of over 600 images. Many of the structures have continued to weather, disintegrate, or be actively dismantled. Some are no longer extant. Hager’s documentation of these historic structures provides an valuable resource for researchers and historic preservation efforts, even will acting as a significant, almost poetic, visual record of Montana. When Montanans go outside to experience the natural world, it is not without traveling along the roadways, hiking under powerlines that span valleys, fishing below dams, or floating under a bridge. Utility infrastructure is ubiquitous and familiar. Some of it features in our scenic photos and memories. These places are relatable and recognizable, part of our perception of Montana. Hager’s archival quality 4×5 inch photographic negatives were contact printed to ensure quality, but never enlarged. Recently, Tom Ferris scanned and corrected the negatives for Hager, printing them on archival Hahnmuhle paper as 16 x 20 inch images.