Visitor FAQs

Read about visitor information, State Museum exhibits, the State Archives, SHSND State Historic Sites, and more. If your still have questions, please contact us or call 701-328-2666.

LOCATION & HOURS

How do I get to the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum?

The North Dakota Heritage Center is located at 612 East Boulevard Ave., on the North Dakota Capitol Grounds. From Interstate 94, take exit 159 and go south until you see the North Dakota Heritage Center entrance sign on the east side of the Capitol Grounds. View the directions page for how to get here and map information. Enter through the Northern Lights Atrium from the east parking lot or the Missouri River Events Center from the west parking lot. Parking is free.

Call the State Historical Society of North Dakota at 701-328-2666 or contact us with questions.

What are the hours for North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum?

State Museum and Museum Store:
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

State Archives:
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., except state holidays, and second Saturday of each month, 10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

State Historical Society of North Dakota (SHSND) and Foundation offices:
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., except state holidays

The North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum is closed Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
We will also be closed on Christmas Eve this year.

Is there an admission fee?

Admission is always free!

STATE ARCHIVES

What will I find at the State Archives?

Homestead and census records, photographs, county histories, newspapers, and more will help you discover your North Dakota roots.

The State Archives is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., except state holidays, and second Saturday of each month, 10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Read Archives FAQs, or for specific questions prior to your visit, contact archives@nd.gov.

Browse collections from organizations across the state, including those of the State Historical Society of North Dakota. Digital Horizons is an online resource containing thousands of images, documents, video, and oral histories depicting life on the Northern Plains from the late 1800s to today.

EVENTS

Where can I find out about events and educational programs at the State Museum and state historic sites?

Check our event calendar for a complete listing of State Museum events, educational programs, and film showings, as well as event listings for our state historic sites.

EXHIBITS

What will I see at the State Museum?

You’ll find history for everyone here. See exhibits to learn about our exciting new galleries and spaces. View the museum map, and watch our videos for a sneak preview.

What is the children’s area?

The Treehouse is a museum space designed for our youth. Hands-on exhibits allow children to discover and explore North Dakota life--past and present. Adult supervision of children is required. Food and drink is not be permitted in this area.

VISITOR AMENITIES

Is the Heritage Center ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible?

Wheelchair access is available into the main east entrance (Northern Lights Atrium), the west entrance and the Russell Reid Auditorium. Two elevators are available near the Northern Lights Atrium and the Missouri River Events Center. Wheel chairs and electric scooters are available for checkout at the Information Desk.

All public restrooms are handicapped accessible.

Handicapped parking is available in the both the west and east (main entrance) parking lots.

Only animals defined by the ADA as service animals are authorized entry into the Heritage Center; no pets, please.

What will I find at the Museum Store?

The Museum Store offers a tremendous selection of North Dakota-related merchandise including jewelry, pottery, books, and DVDs. Shop online anytime!

Your purchase supports the State Historical Society of North Dakota. Foundation members receive a 15 percent discount on all purchases.

The Museum Store is open during regular museum hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

What is available for dining?

The James River Café features freshly baked pastries and breakfast sandwiches, bagels, a variety of sandwiches and paninis, soups, desserts, and specialty coffees. As a whimsical nod to the dinosaur casts in the State Museum, the café also offers freshly baked T. rex and Triceratops cookies. Hours are 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays and 10:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Is Wi-Fi available?

Free public wireless Internet access (Wi-Fi) is available in most public areas.

How do I contact Visitor Services?

Email our visitor services coordinator or call 701-328-2666.

MUSEUM GUIDELINES

May I take photographs in the State Museum?

Handheld photography and video for personal use are permitted in the permanent museum galleries and public spaces, as long as it doesn’t interfere with other visitor’s spaces. Some special temporary exhibits may be not be photographed. Photography for commercial use must be pre-approved with the Visitor Services office. View the Photography Guidelines.

What are your museum gallery guidelines?

Please help us preserve and protect the state’s artifacts and specimens by not touching them. Eating and drinking are not permitted in the museum galleries or The Treehouse, which will open in 2015. Use of tobacco products is not permitted in the building. Please limit the use of cellular phones in the museum galleries as a courtesy to our visitors.

GROUP VISITS/EDUCATION

How do I schedule a field trip or group visit?

Schedule your visit online. For questions, contact our visitor services coordinator or call 701-328-2666.

What resources are available online to educators and students?

The ndstudies.gov website has direct links to all North Dakota Studies resources provided for grades four, eight, and high school at the State Historical Society of North Dakota. For more information, contact the North Dakota Studies coordinator.

STATE HISTORIC SITES INFORMATION

How do I contact the State Historical Society?

Call us at 701-328-2666 or contact us with questions.

Where are North Dakota’s state historic sites located?

We’ve featured our top-visited sites in the Hub of History. You’ll find a quick overview of what you’ll see, along with hours, locations, etc.

The State Museum at the Heritage Center, Pembina State Museum, and 56 historic sites are owned by the state and are preserved, maintained, and interpreted by the State Historical Society of North Dakota. View a complete listing at our historic sites page.

What state historic sites are in the Bismarck-Mandan area?

In addition to visiting the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum on the North Dakota Capitol Grounds, explore history at the Former Governors’ Mansion, Camp Hancock, Steamboat Warehouse, Huff Indian Village, Menoken Indian Village, and Double Ditch Indian Village.

The Missouri River Road Trip roughly follows the Lewis and Clark Trail (North Dakota Highways 1804 and 1806), and provides a wide range of scenic and historic experiences within an hour’s drive of Bismarck-Mandan.

Where can I find a list of local historical societies?

The State Historical Society of North Dakota website home page lists these.

How do I receive your e-newsletter and event information?

Subscribe to our mailing list, and you’ll receive information about programs, events, and store specials.

RENT THE FACILITY

What spaces in the State Museum are available for special event rental?

The North Dakota Heritage Center offers rental opportunities perfect for meetings, conferences, dinners, receptions, and many other corporate and private events. From the stunning glass-enclosed Northern Lights Atrium to the Missouri River Event Center with grand vistas of the Capitol Grounds, you will find opportunities in a unique setting certain to be remembered!

  • Great Plains Theater
  • Russell Reid Auditorium
  • Three adjoining classroom spaces
  • Missouri River Events Center (former Lobby)
  • Badlands Plaza (outdoor plaza, west entrance)
  • Northern Lights Atrium*
  • Corridor of History*

*These spaces are available only outside of regular museum hours.

For more information, email our event coordinator or call 701-328-2666.

SUPPORT US

How do I make a financial donation?

There are several ways to donate:

For information on making a donation to the State Historical Society of North Dakota Foundation or becoming a member of the Foundation, call 701-222-1966 or visit statehistoricalfoundation.com.

For information on donating to the State Historical Society Endowment, call 701-328-2666 or email David Skalsky at dcskalsky@nd.gov.

How can I become a member of the State Historical Society of North Dakota Foundation?

Contact the State Historical Society of North Dakota Foundation for more information. Members receive the following benefits:

  • Free admission to all State Historic Sites
  • 15 percent discount on Museum Store purchases
  • Publications - North Dakota History: Journal of the Northern Plains & Plains Talk Newsletter
  • Membership in Time Travelers, which offers free and discount admission to museums nationwide

How do I volunteer at the State Museum or state historic sites?

Volunteers play a key role in the quality of service we provide. At the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum, public areas such as the information desk and museum store are staffed by volunteers, and docents provide museum teaching for visitors. Some historic sites are also staffed by volunteers. Information is available on our volunteer page. For questions, contact our visitor services coordinator or call 701-328-2666.

How do I donate an object?

To offer an item for donation to the State Historical Society of North Dakota, complete the Potential Acquisition form. Any item offered for donation will be reviewed by the museum collections committee before being accepted to ensure it fulfills the needs of the State Historical Society and does not duplicate existing items.

View the list of objects from the past 50 years or so the SHSND is currently requesting.

How do I donate to the State Archives?

The State Archives actively acquires, preserves, and makes accessible to researchers historical materials relating to Dakota Territory, North Dakota, and the upper Great Plains. The State Archives wishes to acquire for permanent preservation newspapers, letters, diaries, organizational or business records, photographs, maps, and audio/visual materials.

Should you have knowledge of or wish to donate such material, please email the State Archives or call 701-328-2668.