The museum is always looking for volunteers interested in participating in our research and preservation activities.

Ways volunteers serve may include:

  • Research
  • Catalog
  • Storage of historical artifacts
  • Create exhibits
  • Operate the museum store
  • Serve as docents
  • Data entry
  • Clean the museum

Desired skills may include:

  • Organization
  • Technology
  • Computer
  • Creativity
  • Librarian
  • Construction

These are just a few ways to serve and more help is always needed. This is fascinating work ideal for history buffs! The museum is currently open one day a week.

If interested in joining the team, please complete and send or bring by the Montana Military Museum Contact Information for Volunteers form.


Ray Read

Raymond (Ray) Read is a lifetime resident of Montana, Vietnam Veteran and director of the Montana Military Museum. In December 1967, Ray graduated from MSU with a bachelor degree in U.S. history and U.S. government. He also received certification as a Montana teacher of history and government at the secondary level. After graduation from the Special Forces Officers Course in August 1969, he was placed on orders for the Republic of Vietnam. He was assigned to 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), First Special Forces. He served as an advisor to the Vietnamese Special Training School and as personnel staff officer in his command. Ray returned to the states after his Vietnamese tour, and served at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he became part of the training cadre of the U.S. Army’s Kennedy Center for Special Warfare.

In March 1972, Major Read returned to Montana, continuing his military career as a member of the Montana Army National Guard. His last assignment was as Garrison Commander of Fort William Henry Harrison, the first since World War II. It was in 1980 that Ray began his training as an Army curator. In 1984, he headed up the effort to establish a museum and related military history programs for the Montana National Guard. The culmination of that is what is known as the Montana Military Museum formally established in 1995.

Since his retirement from military service, Colonel Read has maintained his position as director and curator of the Montana Military Museum. Under his leadership, the museum has grown in size and reputation as a must see museum for both the locals and those traveling in Montana.

Ray has been active in veterans’ affairs. He served as a post commander in the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 1430, Hamilton 1973-74; as the Department Adjutant of the Montana Department of the American Legion 2001-2002; Department of Montana Historian from 2004-2013 and 2015 to the present. He served in numerous elected and appointed positions to include post commander of American Legion Post 2 (Lewis & Clark Post) in Helena. Post 2 is the largest post in the Montana Department.

Al Charvat

Al came to Helena from Illinois 30 years ago. He graduated from a gunsmithing school in Trinidad, Colorado and worked as a gunsmith at Capital Sports in Helena for 27 years. He has a strong interest in military small arms and helps keep the museum’s gun collection in good shape. Al also works on displays involving military firearms.

Dave Cogley

Dave Cogley is a retired building contractor. He performs various construction work at the museum including display and storage cases, exhibits, facility improvements and maintenance, etc. Dave served as Army Combat Engineer officer, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division, 1969-1970. He served as staff attorney with Montana legislature 1975 -1989. Dave currently serves as part of the Lewis and Clark Veteran’s Council Honor Guard for military funerals. His interest in the museum is to help preserve the memory of Montana veterans’ service and insure we never forget the price of freedom through the sacrifices they made.

Connie & Dave Cole

Connie Cole is responsible for entering books that have been donated to the museum into the Past Perfect database. This program is used by over 35,000 museums nationwide to catalogue and document museum accessions. The Montana Military Museum now has over 3,500 items in its library collection and will soon make these books and documents available via our website. Before her retirement, Connie was an environmental consultant who worked for international environmental engineering companies and mining companies throughout the northwest United States and Canada. Connie joined her husband at the museum in honor of those who served this nation so selflessly.

Dave Cole started as a volunteer at the Museum in 2010. Dave manages the Museum Store which offers books, DVD’s, patches, decals, pins, and other memorabilia related to the military units featured at the Museum, which helps support the work of the Museum. Although not a veteran himself, Dave’s father served three years in India during WWII on the Burma border at the base from which C-47s flew supplies over the Himalayas to support the Chinese Nationalist Army. The base was also the terminus of the Ledo (Burma) Road from which trucks hauled supplies to China later in the War. Before retiring Dave served over 35 years with the Montana Community Development Division assisting communities with planning and infrastructure projects. Dave thinks the Museum is a perfect job for a history buff.

Pam Jackson

Pamela (Pam) Jackson was born in Kansas, raised in Brazil and Mexico, then after several years in Maryland, went to Germany. There she met a Montanan whom she married, which is how she ended up in Montana. After having her third child, Pam received her teaching degree and taught high school, then college. After finally retiring, she became a volunteer at the Montana Military Museum, primarily working in the library.

Mike May

Michael (Mike) May is from Phoenix, Arizona. Following a family tradition of military service (his dad served in WWII and his Grandpa Tyler in WWI) Mike enlisted in the Army in February 1968 with a career field in wheeled and tracked vehicle maintenance. He attended basic training in Fort Bliss, TX. Mike arrived in Vietnam in September 1968 at Cam Ranh Bay with an airfield and port facility. His orders were for the town of Qui Nhon, on the coast in the central highlands. He was assigned to the Port Authority, where he served as clerk and duty driver. Mike returned to the states in September 1969.

Mike later enlisted in the Air Force and was stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico, assigned to the Research and Development facility. At the end of his tour, Mike elected not to re-enlist though he did work for the Air National Guard. After a series of overseas trips and adventures, additional education including photography, Mike retired from the military in February 2007, sold his home in Arizona, packed up and moved to Montana, a place he is proud to call home.

Mike enjoys spending time outdoors appreciating the beautiful scenery, hunting, fishing, motorcycle and side by side riding. Mike is a member of a dog walking group that meets weekly, walking his constant companion, Rainy. His primary responsibility at the museum is working in and supervising the collections area. This is where donations of Montana related military items are received and cataloged for future retrieval. He also creates many of the exhibits in the museum. Mike enjoys working at the museum, caring for the donations entrusted to us, and working with the other volunteers.

Wayne Waters

Wayne Waters was drafted in 1965 and served in Vietnam 1966-1967 in the battalion headquarters as a personnel specialist. After returning home, Wayne worked in farming and ranching until 1985, and then he went to college, earning a BS in history and social sciences. He worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs at Fort Harrison, retiring in 2013. Wayne put himself through college working in archeology. Wayne is a history buff and enjoys working at the museum doing construction, odd jobs and serving as a docent.

Dave Colamaria

Dave Colamaria was born in Dedham, Massachusetts. He worked for a number of years as an engineer and data analyst before taking the leap to pursue his true passion: history. He has a master’s degree in History from George Mason University, and archival certification through the Western Archives Institute. He previously worked as a Digital Historian for the Naval Historical Foundation, and as a Photo Archivist for the U.S. Navy’s official history organization, the Naval History and Heritage Command – all told over a decade working at the historic Washington Navy Yard. He currently works for the Montana State Library on the Montana History Portal, which brings together history content from dozens of institutions around the state of Montana and makes it freely accessible to the public.

Mike Connolly

Michael (Mike) Connolly was born and raised in Helena, Montana and graduated from Capital High in 2009. In 2013, he graduated from the University of Montana with a bachelor degree in History, while minoring in Native American Studies. Mike chose to write his undergraduate research project on the effects of weather in combat during the American Revolution, American Civil War, the First and Second World War, and the Vietnam War conflicts. In 2017, he graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a master’s degree in American Military History. Mike’s thesis was on American Indian men and women who contributed to the war efforts as soldiers, sailors, pilots, and laborers during in the Second World War. He has been working extensively on a new project for American Indian veterans of Montana with an emphasis on Vietnam veterans and their experiences in combat. Mike currently works full-time for the City of Helena in the Transportation Systems Department for Parking maintenance and has been there for the last five years. In 2018, he joined the Montana Historical Society as a volunteer working on the HistoricMT.org project, the African American Heritage project, and helped write the history of the volunteer program at the Society in 2022. Mike joined the Montana Military Museum as a volunteer in May of 2022 working on various items, including inventory of the U.S.S. Helena collection and the First Special Service Force collections. In August of 2022, he joined the Helena Police Department as a volunteer working on the history of the department dating back to 1881.

Margie Peterson

Margie Peterson began volunteering at MMM in May 2022. She is from Helena and is retired from the State of Montana, Legislative Services Division. Her work was in the Office of Legislative Information Technology (OLIT) as a Software Developer, writing and maintaining the software applications and databases used by the House and Senate legislators and their staff, as well as full-time staff who worked in the Capitol building. After retiring, she moved to Bozeman to be a Quality Assurance Analyst for RightNow Technologies, now Oracle.

Because of her love of writing, Margie started a Proofreading and Editing business in 1995 and still enjoys that work today. As a Quality Assurance Analyst, she has also worked on magazines, books, software, and websites. From 2012 to 2014, she worked as a QA Analyst for New River Innovation, Inc., in Greensboro, North Carolina. In 2014, New River was acquired by H&R Block.

Margie loves working around history and has volunteered at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman and the Yellowstone Heritage Research Center in Gardiner. In 2016, she became a Certified Oral Historian, and has interviewed and recorded many wonderful stories to help preserve history that was previously untold.

Some of her projects here at MMM are cataloguing and shelving books for the library, data entry in PastPerfect software, digitizing photographs, and miscellaneous computer projects. She has two daughters and four grandchildren and loves to spend time with all of them.

Aubrey Jon (A.J.) Curtis

Aubrey began volunteering with the Montana Military Museum in January of 2023. He grew up in Townsend, Montana and went to college at Montana State University in Bozeman. There he studied engineering and joined Air Force ROTC. In 2002, he was commissioned and served almost 7 years on active duty as a communications engineer--with assignments to Arizona, Mississippi, Hawaii, and Montana--before transitioning to the Air Force Reserve. He continues to serve as a cyberspace officer in the reserves at Fort Meade in Maryland and has over 21 years of combined active and reserve time. In his civilian capacity, he has worked at the Montana Legislative Branch as an information systems auditor and information technology business analyst. He lives in Helena with his wife, Hope, and daughter, Annalee.

Aubrey is pursuing a masters in military history with a graduate certificate in leadership at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. During the spring semester of 2023, he enrolled in a study abroad class and traveled to Europe--Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Luxembourg--to study and observe World War II locations related to Operation Market Garden, Operation Queen, and Battle of the Bulge. He anticipates a follow-on course in spring of 2024 which will visit sites from Normandy to Paris, France. He plans to complete his masters early 2025 and to then teach as an adjunct professor of U.S. military history at Carroll College.