Cultural Expressions

Music display in the Cultural Expressions exhibit in the Inspiration Gallery: Yesterday and Today

One hundred years ago, North Dakota was one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse states in the country.  More than three-quarters of its people were immigrants or the children of immigrants. They lived alongside Native Americans of many different nations. Most residents probably could speak two or more languages.

Over generations, these cultural traditions have carried on and have adapted to changing life in the region. Different foods, religions, art forms, and social customs have been shared across communities. Today, you can find Norwegian Lutheran churches holding a lefse and lutefisk dinner that neighbors of German and other backgrounds eagerly attend. Knoephla is served regularly in the state Capitol lunchroom. Everyone can appreciate the skill and beauty of Ukrainian pysanky eggs or Lakota beadwork. Newcomers to North Dakota continue to add new traditions to the cultural mix.

Exhibit Highlights:

  • 1885 handmade Norwegian loom
  • Video featuring historic and modern powwow footage
  • Hidatsa hand-beaded cape
  • Design your own pipe bag and quilt wall