State Historical Society of North Dakota and its Foundation officials unveiled in Minot Thursday the new architectural designs and a detailed model of a proposed $52.4 million expansion for the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck.
"This is going to bring the North Dakota Heritage Center to the next level," said Merl Paaverud, director of the State Historical Society of North Dakota. He said the proposed project will also be for future generations.
He said the expansion of the Heritage Center, the state's largest museum, would be a great gift to the people of North Dakota for the 125th anniversary of statehood to be celebrated in 2014. He said it will also be a wonderful project to bring people to North Dakota from all over the world to learn about this state.
Adelaide Johnson, left, and Doris Slaaten, both Minot, look over a model of the proposed expansion of the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck. They were among those attending a luncheon Thursday in the Grand International Inn when State Historical Society of North Dakota and its Foundation officials unveiled the project.
The Minot event, a luncheon held in the Grand International Inn of Minot, was the last of eight luncheons held across the state to show the new designs.
In 2007, the North Dakota Legislature appropriated $1.5 million for the expanded designs for this 97,000-square-foot-addition to expand exhibits and collections space. There would also be plenty of parking.
To obtain the financing for the proposed expansion, Paaverud said, "Our working plan is to seek funding from a mix of private sources, the federal government and state funds."
Nappen is a 'History's Hero'
Hollis Nappen is part of history. For one thing, he worked in the uranium enrichment phase of building the atom bomb.
That was back in 1942 to 1944 in Oak Ridge, Tenn., said Nappen, who lives in Mandan.
Nappen, who turned 90 in August, and is originally from Lankin in Walsh County, also spent some time in Minot, working for Westland Oil for 20 years from 1950 to 1970, then he went to California.
Nappen now is a "History's Hero."
History's Heroes is a new program of the State Historical Society of North Dakota Foundation.
The "heroes" are donors from North Dakota's 53 counties who each pledge $10,000 over five years to augment the fundraising for the N.D. Heritage Center expansion project.
Nappen spoke at the luncheon in Minot Thursday when the Heritage Center expansion plans were unveiled. He told luncheon attendees that history is fleeting and with each passing generation, unless we take steps to save it, it is lost.
He said this reminded him of when he learned to drive, in a Model T. He told luncheon attendees the Model T had three pedals forward, backward and a brake. He equated it to the expansion project. He said they need to remember the one that pushes ahead "so we don't move ahead on the wrong foot."
For more information about the History Heroes project and the State Historical Society of North Dakota Foundation, call Virginia Nelsen, Foundation executive director, at 222-1966 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sen. Robert Horne, D-Minot, a trustee of the State Historical Society Foundation board, said the expansion was the vision of past governors and now six are leading the project.
What's in the new addition
Besides a 97,000-square-foot addition, the project would include the renovation of existing portions of the Heritage Center.
Besides the new exhibit gallery and collections space in the Heritage Center, the expansion would have the following:
Hub of History Information Center for sites and activities throughout the entire state, offering computer-generated maps, tours by interest and/or region, and ticketing information for special events, tours, and bus trip.
The First Peoples Gallery about the 11,000-year history of American Indians on the Northern Plains.
The Geological Time Gallery about the hundreds of millions of years, including the era of the dinosaurs that preceded the arrival of people in what is now North Dakota.
The Governors Gallery designed primarily for high-profile, temporary exhibits.
The Inspiration, Opportunities and Innovation Gallery including industry innovations and expanding technologies of the past 70 years.
The North Dakota Corridor of History a 25-foot-wide passageway connecting the new galleries and featuring floor exhibits, high-tech wall murals and visitor seating.
The Great Plains Theater a 60-seat theater offering Smithsonian-quality programs.
The Northern Lights Atrium a beacon that will welcome all visitors.
A cafe, outdoor patio and expansive spaces for special events and conferences.
High-tech signage to announce programs and exhibits to attract visitors.
Childrens' galleries and learning labs featuring interactive, 'hands-on' exhibits.
Facilities for conferences and meetings with business-friendly technology.
Large-scale high-definition images of historic and beautiful vistas of North Dakota.
"We want to be the 'hub of history' for North Dakota the central location for bringing that in," said Virginia Nelsen, executive director of the Foundation. She said the Heritage Center will become a "world-class" Smithsonian of the Plains facility for people from all over the world to visit.
Claudia Berg, originally from Minot, who is coordinating the expansion for the State Historical Society, said this "hub of history" facility will instill in people a lot of pride. "We have the history now ... we need the focal point," she said.
Two people attending the luncheon said they would like to see the state develop satellite museums so the artifacts and collections can be shared beyond the facility in Bismarck.
Berg said the State Historical Society has temporary galleries in its state facilities at Williston, Medora and Pembina, which become traveling exhibits. She said about 1,200 artifacts also are on loan to counties. Both Berg and Paaverud said they are working on more development in this area.
The design concepts for the expansion project were completed by the architectural firm Lightowler Johnson Associates of Fargo, in partnership with HGA Architects and Engineers of Minneapolis.