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Rural mail delivery

‘The Prairie Post Office’ exhibit opens at ND Heritage Center

Submitted Photo This rural mail delivery wagon is in a new exhibit in the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum, Bismarck.

BISMARCK – A rural mail delivery wagon from John R. Soderholm of Sheyenne is among the items in a new exhibit, “The Prairie Post Office,” now open in the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum in Bismarck.

Mark Halvorson, Curator of Collections Research for the State Historical Society of North Dakota, said Soderholm was a rural mail carrier from 1907-1955. The state agency obtained the mail delivery wagon in November 1949.

A uniform of rural mail carrier James Skyrud of Adams is also displayed. Halvorson said Skyrud was a rural mail carrier from Sept. 24, 1928-Jan. 1, 1973.

The exhibit, located in the James E. Sperry Gallery, “explores the central role post offices play on main streets across North Dakota where rural residents depend on the Postal Service to deliver online purchases, medications and farm supplies,” according to State Historical Society information.

Developed by State Historical Society staff, the exhibit is based on the book “The Prairie Post Office: Enlarging the Common Life in Rural North Dakota” by K. Amy Phillips and Steven R. Bolduc. The book includes interviews with postal employees and small-town residents and contemporary photography by Wayne Gudmundson.

The exhibit also includes archival letters, historic images and objects from the State Museum collections.

The exhibit is free and open to the public through 2021.

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