Opening of Heritage Center expansion delayed

BISMARCK The opening of the expanded North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck has been delayed until next year.

“Because we have encountered unexpected construction delays, the expanded North Dakota Heritage Center will not open to the public until early 2014,” said Kim Jondahl, communications and education director for the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

The doors of the expansion were scheduled to open Sept. 1, with a grand opening on Oct. 12 for the new Adaptation Gallery: Geologic Time, the first phase of the expansion to open.

The Sept. 1 opening would have included the Northern Lights Lobby, new hallway exhibits, a new Great Plains Theater, and the Hub of History with information kiosks and visitor information as well as an outside area called the Pembina River Plaza and the renovated Russell Reid Auditorium.

Jondahl said work on the expanded center continues with the development of programming, exhibits, and completion of some interior finishes.

“When our new front doors open, visitors can expect to see an expanded Museum Store, the new James River Cafe, Hub of History information kiosks, and several hallway exhibits,” she said.

She said the first of four exhibit galleries, the Adaptation Gallery: Geologic Time, will be available for visitors to explore. “This gallery will include an underwater world, the dinosaurs, swamplands, and The Great Ice Age. Additional galleries will also open in 2014,” she said.

As previously planned, she said a grand opening celebration will take place on Nov. 2, 2014, in conjunction with the 125th anniversary of North Dakota statehood.

“Currently, the existing North Dakota Heritage Center is open to the public with services to the State Archives, as well as State Historical Society and Foundation offices. Exhibits are limited while the Main Gallery is under renovation,” Jondahl said.