Skylight Icons

The areas where north hallways intersect the Corridor of History feature iconic objects that bridge the galleries and reference changes in time. These items also serve as landmarks for our visitors, providing examples of the time period represented in each gallery. Scan the hallway and select the time period you wish to explore.

Dakota the Dinomummy

Dakota the Dinomummy

Located at the east end of the Corridor of History, outside the Adaptation Gallery: Geologic Time, is one of the rarest fossils ever found. This hadrosaur, or duck-billed dinosaur, is nicknamed Dakota. It was discovered in 1999 near Marmarth in southwestern North Dakota. Dakota arrived at the North Dakota Heritage Center in a four-ton body block and smaller tail block in 2006. On exhibit is what we found of the animal: one arm, the body, tail, and feet. 


The nearly complete hadrosaur has skin, bones, and tendons preserved in sediment (a combination of sandstones and mudstones) and is one of about only six naturally preserved hadrosaur mummies discovered. Unlike previous dinosaur mummies, which typically show skin impressions in rock, Dakota’s skin appears to be mostly intact with visible scales. This makes Dakota one of the most scientifically important dinosaurs ever found.

Dakota was a plant eater that weighed about four tons when it was living. Scientists believe it could run up to 28 miles per hour.

The dinomummy has been featured in national and international news reports because of its rare skin preservation. The National Geographic Society, a major contributor to the excavation, preparation and research on Dakota, has published two books and produced a National Geographic Channel television program called “Dino Autopsy” about the rare find.

“The Life, Death, and Discovery of Dakota, A Dinosaur From Hell Creek” and the National Geographic DVD are available in the Museum Store.


Mastodon in the Corridor of History

The icon bridging the Adaptation Gallery: Geologic Time and the Innovation Gallery: Early Peoples is the mastodon, which lived at the end of the ice age and was hunted by the early inhabitants of North Dakota. The mastodon was one of two elephant-like mammals that lived in North America 10,000 to 20,000 years ago.

Adult male mastodons were about 10 feet tall at the shoulder and weighed 8,000 pounds. Like its cousin, the woolly mammoth, mastodons were cold-climate animals covered with a coat of long, shaggy hair.

Learn the story of our mastodon.

The "Holland Special"

The "Holland Special"

Samuel Holland (1859-1937) was a Norwegian immigrant to Park River, North Dakota. A skilled blacksmith and machinist, he built at least six automobiles between 1898 and 1908. The “Holland Special,” built in 1904, was a low-wheeled runabout that had a 4 hp single-cylinder engine.