N.D. Heritage Center gets museum awardThe state’s largest museum, the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck, has again been awarded the highest honor a museum can receive: reaccreditation by the American Association of Museums.
The state’s largest museum, the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck, has again been awarded the highest honor a museum can receive: reaccreditation by the American Association of Museums.
The North Dakota Heritage Center is the state museum and headquarters of the state’s history agency, the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Accreditation certifies that a museum operates according to standards set forth by the museum profession, manages its collections responsibly and provides quality service to the public.
“The Heritage Center is an exceptionally well-run organization and a model state museum,” the reaccreditation report states. “Exhibitions, outreach programs, education programs, historic preservation, publications, facilities and collection management all reflect best practices in the field.”
Of the nation’s nearly 16,000 museums, only about 800 are currently accredited by the AAM. Located on the state capitol grounds, the North Dakota Heritage Center is full of temporary and permanent exhibits that preserve and tell the history and prehistory of what is now North Dakota. In a cooperative agreement with the North Dakota Geological Survey, the Heritage Center also houses the State Fossil Collection. Admission is free. It is open year round, closed only on New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Open since 1981 and AAM-accredited since 1986, the North Dakota Heritage Center is one of only two museums accredited in the state by the AAM; the other is the Plains Art Museum in Fargo. The AAM is a national organization, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., that has served the museum profession since 1906.
“This process was rigorous and demanding, as we examined virtually every aspect of the North Dakota Heritage Center’s operations,” said Merlan E. Paaverud, Jr., director of the State Historical Society of North Dakota. “It included a year of self-study and an on-site review by a team of experienced museum professionals. We encourage North Dakotans and those beyond our borders to help us celebrate this award by visiting the Heritage Center and enjoying the many excellent programs, exhibits and services it has to offer.”
To ensure that museums continue their efforts to maintain and strengthen their level of professional performance, a museum’s subsequent accreditation is reviewed by the AAM every 10 years.
The State Historical Society of North Dakota manages 55 state historic sites and two state museums, operating as North Dakota’s department of history, archaeology and archives since 1895. The agency has 62 full-time employees and some 200 volunteers working in its five divisions statewide. The divisions are Museum, Communications and Education, Archaeology and Historic Preservation, State Archives and Support Services.
The North Dakota Heritage Center is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about the State Historical Society, contact the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck, call 701-328-1476 or visit the Society’s web site at www.history.nd.gov.