Weather Forecast


Open houses set for celebration of first two state museum galleries

The public is invited to attend a weekend of open houses in celebration of the completion of the first two state museum galleries at the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck.

An open house for the Adaptation Gallery: Geologic Time is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and an open house for the Innovation Gallery: Early Peoples is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The geologic time gallery open house will feature presentations about fossils by North Dakota Geologic Survey paleontologists. Behind-the-scenes paleontology tours of the Heritage Center will take place throughout the day. “Ice Age” will be showing in the new Great Plains Theater at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., as well as additional family-friendly films. Staff will host a free children’s workshop at noon making “fuzzysaurus” creations to take home.

The early peoples gallery open house on Sunday will feature special presentations related to the theme of innovation, change and tradition. Music, oral, dance and art traditions will be presented by renowned artists Keith Bear, Kevin Locke, D. Joyce Kittson, David (Doc), Dakota Goodhouse and Gabriel Brien. Flute music, metis fiddling, hoop dancing, broom dancing and storytelling will occur throughout the day. Quillworking, beadworking, hide tanning and pictographs will be discussed and displayed. Language revitalization programs will be highlighted by Cory Spotted Bear, Brad Kroupa and Dancing Eagle. Attendees can learn of their activities at the Arikara Cultural Center at White Shield and Mandan Language Program at Twin Buttes. Kacy Hollenback of Southern Methodist University will speak about culture change and continuity. There will be a raising of a tipi and more.

All activities are free. Find a full schedule of events for both days at

The newly expanded State Museum is a treasure trove of North Dakota history including a tyrannosaurus rex cast, a triceratops cast, the world’s largest giant squid fossil, ancient pottery and beadwork from Native-American tribes and a hand-painted mural of Double Ditch Indian Village in 1550.

The two open galleries span the state’s history from 600 million years ago to the 1860s. The Adaptation Gallery: Geologic Time covers the story of the evolving geology and the earliest life in North Dakota from 600 million years ago to 13,000 years ago. The Innovation Gallery: Early Peoples covers the first arrival of people 13,000 years ago through the 1860s. This gallery features more than 1,000 artifacts that help tell the story of early life on the Northern Plains.

Additional spaces are open to the public, including the renovated Russell Reid Auditorium, a new Great Plains Theater, the new Museum Store, Corridor of History exhibits, visitor kiosks, the Northern Lights Atrium and more.

The North Dakota Heritage Center expansion will be fully completed on Nov. 2 when two additional state museum galleries will make their opening debut to the public during a grand opening celebration on the state’s 125th anniversary of statehood. Find a schedule of events at and check back for updates.

The North Dakota Heritage Center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Due to construction, the new entrance and new parking lot are not completed. Visitors should continue to use the existing west entrance to the North Dakota Heritage Center. Parking is limited in the existing lot.