Historical society president says hearing on museum bill went well

Andrea Johnson/MDN The Ward County Historical Society’s Pioneer Village Museum is pictured on Friday. The museum is to be relocated to donated land in Burlington, 8 miles west of Minot. There is currently a bill under consideration in the Legislature that would allocate funds for the move.

Ward County Historical Society president David Leite said a political subdivisions committee hearing went well Thursday. Several people from the area testified on Senate Bill 2146, which would provide $2 million for relocation of the historical society’s Pioneer Village Museum from the state fairgrounds to a location in Burlington.

“The hearing went well with a unanimous vote in favor,” Leite said in an email to the Minot Daily News. “There was no testimony against and eight people testified in favor including Senator Oley Larsen, Mayor Jeanine Kabanuk of Burlington, the Director of the State Historical Society Claudia Berg, Dan Caswell, Gary Price, myself and three others from Burlington.”

A marked up version of Senate Bill 2146 would allocate $2 million, or however much of that sum is necessary, to the State Historical Society so it could award a grant to the Ward County Historical Society to relocate the museum elsewhere in Ward County.

The bill was introduced by Larsen, R-Minot, Sen. Merrill Piepkorn, D-Fargo, Rep. Lisa Meier, R-Bismarck, and Rep. Karen Rohr, R-Mandan.

The historical society lost a long-running legal battle last summer against the North Dakota State Fair Association to keep the museum on the fairgrounds. The historical society board decided against an appeal in favor of relocating the museum. The museum is to be located on donated land on the south side of Burlington along the U.S. 2 and 52 Bypass. The land in Burlington was donated by the DeSour Valley Economic Development Corp.

The historical society plans to make improvements to the museum in its new location, including a visitors center. However, it is still seeking donations to help with the move.