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State Historical Society starts new series of virtual programs for classrooms

BISMARCK – The State Historical Society of North Dakota is launching Ask-an-Expert, a new series of virtual programs for classrooms. The initiative is currently in beta testing, and participation is free during spring 2021.

Ask-an-Expert is an online meeting between a classroom and staff at one of seven state historic sites. Students send questions in advance and ask additional questions during the live program. Historic site staff answer the questions, often illustrating their answers with artifacts, replicas, historic photographs, and more.

A variety of historic sites from Pembina to the Badlands and related topics are available as part of the initiative, including:

Pembina State Museum: Fur Trade, Ojibwa, French-Canadians, Metis

Fort Totten State Historic Site: Dakota Tribes, Native American Boarding Schools

Fort Buford/Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center: Lewis and Clark, Life in the Frontier Army

Chateau de Mores State Historic Site: The Great Dakota Boom

Former Governors’ Mansion State Historic Site: Political History

Camp Hancock State Historic Site: Weather and Climate

Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site: Cold War from the Missile Field

“Our staff across the state have profound knowledge of some of the most defining aspects of North Dakota history,” said Historic Sites Manager Rob Hanna. “I love that we’re making this resource readily available to more people.”

The interactive format of Ask-an-Expert empowers students to shape the program according to their interests. Hanna said, “We’ve had teachers tell us that letting the students ask the questions made them interested in the presentation. This close-up examination with an expert shows that history isn’t just a list of facts. It’s a way of learning about the world.” The virtual format readily accommodates most grades, as well as such diverse subjects as North Dakota studies, history, geography, and civics. Elementary to university level classes are welcome, as are home school associations, civic clubs, and other groups.

Ask-an-Expert is an addition to the North Dakota Studies curriculum. Further details and online registration are available at ndstudies.gov/ask-an-expert. For more information, contact Robert Hanna, rjhanna@nd.gov or Chris Dorfschmidt, cdorfschmidt@nd.gov.

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