News from the State Historical Society of North Dakota
October 2016
HISTORY FOR everyone.

Celebrating 50 Years of the National Historic Preservation Act

October 22-23 at the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum, Bismarck

Learn more at
Of Earth and Stone: Old World Building Traditions in a New Land
by Lauren McCroskey

The following is an excerpt from North Dakota History: Journal of the Northern Plains, Vol. 62, No. 4.

Beginning in the late 1880s, North Dakota absorbed a large population of Germans from the Black Sea region of south Russia who were known as German-Russians, as well as significant numbers of German-Hungarians, native Ukrainians, and Bohemians.  Where these settlements took root in North Dakota, the landscape is punctuated by striking reminders of this heritage, including a fragile collection of earthen and stone buildings. The Old World building traditions employed by German-Russian and German-Hungarian settlers are especially well represented and are the focus of this article. Embodied in these humble structures are clues about their ethnic origins, as well as culturally prescribed attitudes toward building materials that reflect an accommodation of traditional values with the environmental realities of the northern plains.

Crumbling and vacant, sometimes only skeletal, the remains of hundreds of earthen and stone dwellings can be found across the prairie. Documentation is sporadic.

Read the rest of the article here.
Have you visited the State Museum at the North Dakota Heritage Center?

We invite you to experience the beautiful museum spaces!

Can't make it this week? How about an online preview of one of the museum galleries on the new State Museum website? The Adaptation Gallery: Geologic Time is a great place to start. This gallery is also known by many people under age 12 as the "dinosaur room."  Get your dino-fix here.

Or learn about the rich history of Native American tribes of North Dakota. The Innovation Gallery: Early Peoples is devoted to the Native peoples of North Dakota. Expand your knowledge here.


Can you name that governor?

The North Dakota Governors Online Exhibit includes photos and information about our governors starting with the first territorial governor, William A. Jayne. That's him in the photo above. A few facts about Governor Jayne from the online exhibit:
  • Residence: Springfield, Illinois
  • Years Served: 1861-1863
  • Date of Inauguration: May 27, 1861
  • Age at Inauguration: 34
  • Politics: Republican (former Whig)
  • He served as President Lincoln's personal physician.
  • Born: Springfield, Illinois - October 8, 1826
  • Died: Springfield, Illinois - March 21, 1916

View the online exhibit here.

Lessons from Lake Agassiz
by Barb Handy-Marchello

I would guess that research sounds like a pretty dull job to most people. Nose down in book, hand scribbling notes, eyes growing bleary, back bone slowly coiling into a permanent loop around the desktop. I won’t deny that all of that happens. But the process is also one of discovery. There is always something new, something cool to add the body of knowledge we share with those who read our curricula and newsletters.

When we decided to write about the geology of the Red River Valley for the North Dakota Studies newsletter, I entered the research cautiously. I am a historian. I love documents; I can understand anything old on paper. Layers of dirt are important, but I have always considered rocks and dirt to be someone else’s joy-filled research project. Reading through the documents, I slowly absorbed the geological history of the great glacial Lake Agassiz that formed the Red River Valley thousands of years ago

Read the rest of this blog post here.

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October 22 - Fort Buford Cemetery Walk, 7-9 p.m. CT. Celebrate the season with a spooky visit to the Fort Buford Cemetery. Pick up a treat bag and join Arch Ellwein in the Interpretive Center at 7 p.m. as he shares Halloween make-up tips and tricks using kitchen products. Come dressed for the weather and bring a flash light. Fort Buford State Historic Site. For more, call 701.572.9034.

Oct. 29 - Halloween Party at Pembina State Museum, 2-3 p.m.  Enjoy games and crafts for children 12 and under, and snacks for all.  Costumes are encouraged, but not required. For more, call 701.825.6840.

Oct. 29 - Children’s Halloween Open House at the Former Governors’ Mansion State Historic Site, 1 - 3 p.m. Kittyko will be reading spooky stories and singing Halloween songs in the parlor. Treats and hot cider will be provided. For more information, call 701.328.9528 or email

Find more upcoming events at historic sites statewide at

Little Kids, Big World is a free interactive learning series for toddlers and preschoolers at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Mondays at the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum. For more, visit
Oct. 10 - Dinosaurs in Motion
Oct. 17 - Drawing History
Oct. 24 - Puzzling with Pottery

National Fossil Day
Oct. 12 - Join paleontologists, geologists, and museum staff in celebrating fossils from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum. For more, visit
Coming in 2017
Green Revolution Recycled Art:
Creating a Collagraph
In this three-session course participants will use repurposed items to create a textured printing plate, make a print, and complete an original piece of art.
Jan. 14 -  Design and create printing plate 
Jan. 21 -  Ink the plate and print
Jan. 28 -  Cut and assemble the collagraph

Find more upcoming events at the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum at or call 701.328.2666.


The State Historical Society of North Dakota oversees the State Museum, the Pembina State Museum, and 56 historic sites. Our mission is “to preserve, interpret, and promote the heritage of North Dakota and its people.”

Copyright © 2016 State Historical Society of North Dakota, All rights reserved.

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