The Montana Heritage Center is getting a $10.4 million donation from Montana native millionaire Norm Asbjornson.
Norm Asbjornson is from Winifred, Montana. He founded AAON, a publicly-traded heating, ventilation, and air conditioning manufacturer that has made him wealthy. In 2021, AAON made a profit of $535 million, and Asbjornson’s net worth is estimated between $500 and 600 million. In 2014, he donated $50 million to Montana State University’s engineering program, resulting in the construction of the Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering.
On Wednesday, the Montana Historical Society and the office of Montana’s governor announced that the $10.4 million donation completes the society’s fundraising goals, which will allow the construction of the Montana Heritage Center in Helena.
“I look for projects that will be game changers for the state of Montana,” Asbjornson said. “This is an investment in the history of Montana and a gift to our current and future generations.”
MTHS Director Molly Kruckenberg praised how that Asbjornson is excited to support the Montana Heritage Center and its educational opportunities.
“Norm is particularly interested in how we support Montana schools with history curricula and our goal of bringing every student in Montana through our doors to help them learn from our history,” Kruckenberg said. “We truly appreciate Norm’s support and that of others who’ve generously contributed to this effort.”
Governor Greg Gianforte also thanked Asbjornson for the donation to the Montana Heritage Center.
“With this donation, Norm leaves a tremendous legacy that will allow Montanans and visitors to our state to experience Montana history like never before,” Gov. Gianforte said. “When completed, the Montana Heritage Center will provide a world-class and unparalleled experience for visitors. We thank all Montanans for their contributions and interest in the project.”
The Montana Heritage Center is expected to open in 2025, and will feature of the history of Montana’s people, ancient to modern, with a focus on education and outreach.