Support for Pioneer Village Museum will be tested

It’s not what members of the Ward County Historical Society wanted. It’s not what a lot of non-members wanted either. But the historical society’s Pioneer Village Museum cannot remain where it has been located since 1966, on the North Dakota State Fairgrounds.

Southwest District Court Judge Rhonda Ehlis ruled earlier this month in favor of the State Fair in its long-running dispute with the historical society over the museum’s location on the state fairgrounds.

David Leite, president of the historical society, said Thursday that his members will not appeal the decision to the North Dakota Supreme Court.

So now the push is on to raise money to move the extensive collection of buildings, displays and artifacts to a new, yet to be determined location.

That will take money. A lot of money. Two million dollars, in fact, which the historical society with its 150 members doesn’t have.

We wish the members well in their campaign.

It will be a daunting task, to be sure, but raising that kind of money is possible. It will take donations large and small from people who care about preserving a tiny slice of the history of the people who settled and developed Ward County. It might involve pledges, raffles and bake sales like most fundraisers rely on. Obtaining land will naturally be a hurdle; members are hoping the land will be donated.

All that is not out of the question. People have certainly been generous with the historical society in the past, and the association seemed to pick up a lot of new support during its long battle with the State Fair.

It will be interesting to see how much of that support was just talk.

Perhaps we’ll get a hint of that soon. The historical society will hold its next monthly meeting on Sept. 6 at 6:45 p.m. at the Harmon House, located at the museum on the fairgrounds. Members of the public are invited to offer input.

Again, we wish the historical society well as it begins a new chapter in its own history, and by extension, the history of Minot and Ward County.

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