Contact Us

Montana Learning Center
7653 Canyon Ferry Road
Helena, MT 59602-8517

Phone: (406) 475-3638


MLC History

In the 1980’s two leading science teachers from Montana began taking students on field explorations in Montana. Little could they know that their legacy would extend decades into the future.

The Montana Summer Science Camp was originally founded in 1984. Over the next few years it grew into the Montana Limnological Institute. It owes all the leadership, time and energy of that birth to two award winning Helena science teachers, Gil and Marilyn Alexander. In 1998, the Montana Limnological Institute was incorporated as the Montana Science Institute. Its initial priorities were to expand the excitement of science learning to students, teachers, and citizens in Montana and neighboring states. Students of all ages continue to experience the thrill of discovery. Our mission is to help meet America’s need for mathematicians, scientists and engineers; to investigate and solve real world problems; to teach environmental stewardship through understanding how the earth works; and to serve as a link between citizens and organizations.

The Montana Science Institute merged into the current entity, the Montana Learning Center at Canyon Ferry Lake, in 2004 when Gil and Marilyn decided that it was time to step back and take life a bit easier. At that time a group of Montana’s Presidential Awardees for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching decided that such an honorable tradition must continue to grow. Over the years our programs have been continually staffed by numerous Presidential Awardees in Science and Mathematics. We also have Christi McAuliffe Fellows, state and regional “Science and Mathematics Teachers of the Year,” as well as ties with both Montana State University and the University of Montana.

Our students have won amazing acclaim. High school students’ accomplishments include national first place winners in the Westinghouse National Science Talent Search, the Intermountain Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, USA Today All American Academic Team, the International Science Fair, the American World of Water, and the National Horticulture Award, as well as numerous regional, state and local awards.

Located on the uppermost impoundment of the Missouri River on the Lewis and Clark Route, the Montana Learning Center at Canyon Ferry Lake is uniquely positioned to study and ponder the rich history from the times of dinosaurs, to the life of American Indians, to the journeys of Lewis & Clark, to the challenges of hydroelectric generation, and finally to the demand of working in this tech-savvy new world with all our current challenges.

Our educational mission is simple: To help ensure that the world we have been given will thrive because the new generation of leaders and citizens are empowered to solve problems!