Backstage Pass to North Dakota History

This blog takes you behind the scenes of the State Historical Society of North Dakota. Get a glimpse at a day-in-the-life of the staff, volunteers, and partners who make it all possible. Discover what it takes to preserve North Dakota's natural and cultural history.

The North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum is back open! Our museum has been rated the top destination in Bismarck for several years, so it makes sense that it attracts photographers from all over the world. As part of the digital media team, I’m lucky enough to see all corners of the museum. Today, I’m going to share with you my favorite spots to snap a perfect post.

1. Cannonball Concretions

The ND Heritage Center & State Museum is located on the beautiful North Dakota Capitol Grounds. With plenty of space for social distancing, try out your daily walk or yoga pose while the morning is quiet.

Sarah Walker at state museum demonstrating yoga poses

Sarah Walker, head of reference specialist.

2. French Gratitude Train

What’s your gratitude story? Learn about the French Gratitude Train online or find it on the south grounds.

French gratitude train

French Gratitude Train, south grounds of the ND Heritage Center & State Museum.

3. Innovation Gallery: Early Peoples Trade Route Map

This map shows the trade routes from North Dakota and across the Atlantic Ocean. What do you see when you look at a map? How far you’ve come or where you are headed?

trade map

Map and routes located in the Innovation Gallery: Early Peoples.

4. James River Café

Treat yourself to a latté in a quiet corner of our café. Bring your special project and unwind for a bit surrounded by the beautiful canopy views.

cross stitch detail and james river cafe views

Cross stitch by Lilly Bowe, visitor services, and comfortable, quiet spaces at the James River Café.

5. Outdoor Spaces

The ND Heritage Center & State Museum has lots of space for outdoor picnics, relaxing with friends, and spending quality time with your dog. Recharge, run, or relax in the shade of the museum.

front of state museum

Enjoy the outdoors. We have free Wi-Fi inside when you’re ready.

6. Adaptation Gallery: Geologic Time Dinosaurs!

It’s always a good day to see dinosaurs. You can take a sloth selfie, too.

sloth selfie and dino display at museum

When dinosaurs ruled!

7. Museum Store

Here’s a recipe for fun: the museum store! Check out the fun and North Dakota-made gifts.

handmade clay cookware

Clay cookware, available in the museum store.

Or find your new Zoom shirt! (You know you need one.)

Logo tshirt

This shirt is online meeting ready.

8. Bison Statue

Normally, we’d say keep a safe distance from our North Dakota bison, but this one on the north grounds is perfect to get close to.

bison selfie and bison statue detail

Jessica Rockeman, new media specialist.

9. Inspiration Gallery: Yesterday and Today 1950s Soda Shop

Little known fact: Bring a friend to our 1950s soda shop. There is a table and seating inside for two. Hear what would have been on the jukebox. What do you dance to?

soda shop

Ice cream is great in any era.

10. Natural History in the Inspiration Gallery: Yesterday and Today

Stay well.

bear mount

Have a BEARY good day!