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Archives - State Agencies - North Dakota Heritage Commission


The North Dakota Heritage Study Committee established in 1963 (S. L. 1963, Ch. 369) was appropriated the sum of $5000 for the purpose of establishing a plan for the preservation and display of mementos pertinent to North Dakota history. The money came from the State Capitol Building Fund. There were two phases; one phase would be for a heritage center as a multi-wing building that would include a display of North Dakota historical documents, artifacts, and mementos. The envisioned plan would enlarge and revise extensively the state museum (Liberty Memorial Building). The second phase of the plan would implement for a short period of time a limited heritage center with display cases and the portraits of hall of fame recipients. This would be located on the west wing ground floor of the State Capitol and it would include portraits from the Teddy Roosevelt Rough Rider Award recipients and related displays of the tools of their trade (S. L. 1963, Ch. 369). At that time there were three members in the hall of fame: Lawrence Welk, Dorothy Stickney, and Ivan Dmitri. At the suggestion of Governor Guy the committee invited Knute Henning, the chairman of the NDSU Department of Architecture and other staff, plus 19 students of School of Architecture to provide ideas to the committee. The committee members included the Governor, the superintendent of the State Historical Society, secretary and director of the State Library Commission, and two members selected at large by the Governor.


During the 1965 legislative session, the Legislature created the North Dakota Heritage Commission to plan and design a heritage center (S. L. 1965, Ch 381). The commission consisted of the Governor, director of the State Department of Accounts and Purchases, chairman of the State Historical Board, and two members of the Legislature. The purpose of the commission was to plan and design the North Dakota Heritage Center. The commission reviewed proposals and designs for the Heritage Center, raised funds through various projects and drives, and supervised construction of the building. The commission established a construction fund and in 1967 it formed the North Dakota Heritage Foundation (a private, non-profit corporation). Governor Guy and former governors, C. Norman Brunsdale and John E. Davis served as the incorporators of the new foundation. Recognition and approval came from the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission as an historical project for North Dakota. The Heritage Center was completed in 1981. The Heritage Commission was repealed by law (S. L. 1979, Ch. 582). The State Historical Society of North Dakota Foundation continues as a support, advocacy, and fund raising organization for the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

1963       Creation of the Heritage Study Committee to plan for the preservation and display of mementos pertinent to North Dakota history (S. L. 1963, Ch. 369).

1964       North Dakota celebrated the 75th birthday of statehood.

1965       The Legislature created the North Dakota Heritage Commission (S. L. 1965, Ch. 381).

1967       The North Dakota Heritage Foundation incorporated.

1974-1976            The Heritage Center campaign gained the approval of the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission and looked forward to a construction date of July 4, 1976, the 200th birthday celebration of the nation.

1979       Legislation eliminated from the Century Code the Heritage Study Committee (S. L. 1979, Ch. 93), and repealed the Heritage Commission (S. L. 1979, Ch. 550).

1981       The North Dakota Heritage Center was completed.

31211 Heritage Commission Minutes.
31215 Subject Files.                                                        
31213 Plans, Studies, Reports, and Specifications.
31212 North Dakota Heritage Center Project Construction Reports.
31214 North Dakota Heritage Center Soil Reports and Materials Test Reports.
Gray, David P.  Guide to the North Dakota State Archives, 1985.
“Our neglected heritage.” North Dakota REC Magazine October 1974: 16-18.
North Dakota Secretary of State Blue Book.
North Dakota State Archives.  State Historical Society of North Dakota. Administration. Board of Director’s Correspondence. Series 30206.
North Dakota State Legislature Session Laws.

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