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Governor, First Lady Celebrate Grand Opening of The North Dakota Heritage Center
Post Date: Nov 03 2014

By ND Governor's Office
Gov. Jack and First Lady Betsy Dalrymple joined former governors and first ladies, state and local officials, and fellow North Dakotans to officially dedicate the new North Dakota Heritage Center and open the center’s final two galleries to the public. Today’s grand opening coincides with the state’s 125th anniversary of statehood. On November 2, 1889, North Dakota was admitted to the Union when President Benjamin Harrison signed the Proclamation of Admission. South Dakota was also admitted on that day.
 
“As North Dakotans, we are truly blessed, and today as we celebrate our 125th anniversary of statehood, we add a new blessing to our state as we officially dedicate the new North Dakota Heritage Center,” Gov. Dalrymple said. “This world-class facility is a wonderful birthday gift for the people of North Dakota and a lasting tribute to the pioneers who came before us and made history here. It will stand as a symbol of pride for our state and preserve the storied tales of our rich history and culture for generations to come.”
 
The $51.7 million, 97,000-square-foot expansion doubles the center’s exhibit space, visitor services, public and educational programming, collections storage, labs and office space. Four new galleries have been added to showcase North Dakota’s heritage from prehistoric time to recent history.
 
The Adaption Gallery features 600 million years of geologic history and early life in the state. The Innovation Gallery tells the stories of the earliest people to this area and the Inspiration Gallery explores history that has shaped the way of life in North Dakota over the past 150 years. The fourth gallery, the Governor’s Gallery, features temporary and traveling exhibits, and educational programs. The Adaptation and Innovation galleries were open to the public in April and the Inspiration and Governors galleries were opened for the first time today.
 
The daylong grand opening festivities kicked off with a ribbon cutting ceremony officially dedicating the completion of the new Heritage Center. The ceremony was attended by Gov. and First Lady Dalrymple, along with former North Dakota governors and first ladies, including Sen. John and Mikey Hoeven; Gov. Ed and First Lady Nancy Schafer; Gov. George and First Lady Jane Sinner; Gov. Allen and First Lady Barbara Olson; First Lady Grace Link; and Nancy Guy, representing Gov. William and First Lady Jean Guy.
 
As lieutenant governor, Gov. Dalrymple chaired the commission appointed by then-Gov. Hoeven in November 2002 to study the possible expansion of facilities and operations of the State Historical Society. The idea of a commission resulted from a meeting of North Dakota’s six living governors in November 2001, held as part of the center’s 20th anniversary celebration. The commission prepared a report to the 2003 Legislative Assembly recommending a series of investments in the Historical Society, with the expansion of the Heritage Center included as a top recommendation.
 
“I am proud to have been part of this project from the very beginning and it is gratifying to be here today to celebrate its completion,” Dalrymple said. “This grand opening is a wonderful way to culminate our yearlong 125th birthday celebration and mark this significant milestone in our state’s history. As we embark on another 125 years, the North Dakota Heritage Center will continue to play an integral role in chronicling and preserving our heritage for future generations.”
 
The North Dakota Heritage Center began as a 1976 U.S. Bicentennial project for the state and opened its doors in 1981. The original gallery, collection storage, labs, and offices were designed for a 20-year plan. 
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