DEVILS LAKE The Lake Region Heritage Center in downtown Devils Lake has a new look.
Lisa Zimmerman, the curator and director, said the museum has completely redone its exhibits on the first and second floors during the last six months.
“We started over on the first floor,” said Zimmerman, who took over as director a little less than a year ago. One thing that seemed to be missing was a comprehensive story of the effects of the rise and fall of Devils Lake on the region.
The first floor exhibits use photos, maps, anecdotes and artifacts to tell a story about the lake from its beginnings, including the Lakota Sioux legend about the sea monster from which Devils Lake took its name in the 1800s. Visitors will learn about what the lake looked like when settlers first arrived, how it looked during periods of drought and how much land has been swallowed up by the lake as it rose again over the past decades. The lake has grown so large that another location had to be found for the Minnewaukan school.
Zimmerman said the display includes aerial photos showing the lake and a map showing the outlets. Much of the material was already there, but Zimmerman said it needed to be reorganized. The display was put together with the help of Jeff Frith, who was then on the Devils Lake Joint Resource Board.
Exhibits on the second floor were reorganized so they tell one single story about the Lake Region in the 1920s and 1930s. Zimmerman said visitors will see an old-time dentist’s office, a doctor’s office, a barber shop and beauty shop, a church, a judge’s chambers and a federal courtroom. There are also some old photos showing Devils Lake during the 1920s and ’30s and stories about some of the outdoor activities and sports.
“There are some really cool photos,” said Zimmerman, depicting a ski jump and baseball games.
“In the future we will be doing exhibits on the third floor,” said Zimmerman, but the third floor is currently closed to the public. She hopes to reopen the exhibit on the third floor by the summer of 2015.
The museum is located in the old post office and federal building at the corner of Fourth Street and Fifth Avenue in Devils Lake. The museum has been open since 1980.
Admission is free for children under age 12; $3 for students with an ID; $5 for adults; $3 for senior citizens over 65; $12 for a family with two adults and minor children; $2 for person in a group with over 20 people. There are special rates for school tours as well. Call 662-3701. Handicapped access to the museum is in the back of the building. There is driveway access to the ramp off of 4th Street to the left of the building. Currently the second and third floors are not handicapped accessible. Historical research can be conducted by appointment. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
Events are scheduled throughout the summer at the museum.
On Memorial Day, the Lake Region Heritage Center will be putting on a special Monday @ the Museum on Memorial Day that takes a look at the role North Dakota played in the Vietnam War. Presenter Jeff Stotts will be talking with Vietnam veterans in this special presentation. History students from Devils Lake High School will also be putting together mini exhibits for the event.
“I give the students a choice at the end of the year. They can either choose to take a test or do a project. Some years most of them choose to take the test but this year the students were excited about taking on this project,”said Stotts in a press release.
Visitors can view the students’ exhibits and hear Stotts and his guests talk about the Vietnam War on May 26 in the courtroom on the second floor of the museum. Student exhibits will start at 6 p.m. and the presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m.