Ellen Baumler

Self-disciplined. Self-directed. Curious.

These three words perhaps best describe Ellen Baumler, the Interpretive Historian at the Montana Historical Society.

Since 1992, Baumler has made a career out of creating interpretive signs for historical sites in Montana, developing and writing walking tours of historic districts, successfully submitting National Register nominations, writing and reviewing roadside historical markers for the Montana Department of Transportation, and sharing Montana’s heritage with students of all ages across the state.

All that is in addition to authoring miscellaneous articles and books such as “Montana Chillers: 13 True Tales of Ghosts and Hauntings” for young readers, “Dark Spaces—Montana’s Historic Penitentiary at Deer Lodge,” and most recently “Haunted Helena: Montana’s Queen City Ghosts.”

“I could never get burned out on history,” said Baumler. “When I started working with the sign program in 1992, I had the opportunity to work in a position that was new and that gave me the chance to synthesize history. I was allowed to make it into something.”

Baumler now ranks as a legitimate historical detective.

She said that her career as a historian is a tutorial in “self-education.” It has also been a sustained lesson in taking initiative, gathering data and organizing information, as well as learning the appropriate means of identifying, finding, retrieving, sorting and exchanging information. Baumler is indeed one busy bee.

“If I am not traveling or speaking, my day consists of answering public queries, researching signs or programs, writing work-related articles, attending meetings in the community and with other staff. It’s an organized chaos. There is so much to learn.”