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Leprosy in Montana: The Story of Orville Willett
Date Friday June 15, 2012
Time8:00 PM  - 9:00 PM
Location Beavertail Hill State Park
Contact Chris Neu; Vernon Carroll
Chris Neu - (406) 240-0155; Vernon Carroll - (406) 273-4253
DescriptionAfter serving a second term in the Montana legislature in 1917, Senator Orville Willett of Mineral County was diagnosed with leprosy. This program traces the story of Willett¿s ten-year quarantine in Montana, his reliance on faith healing, the legislation his illness prompted, and his eventual removal to the federal leprosarium at Carville, Louisiana. Willett¿s experience provides the framework to educate the audience about Hansen¿s disease, its medical peculiarities, recent discoveries and treatments, and the social stigma it still carries today. Baumler¿s storytelling skills bring Willett¿s poignant isolation and the history of this little understood disease to the modern audience.

Ellen Baumler, author and interpretive historian at the Montana Historical Society, will lead this program.

The park is 26 miles East of Missoula, off I-90 (exit 130)--follow signs to the park.