Historical Society director to retire

BISMARCK The man who has led the State Historical Society of North Dakota for the past 13 years will be retiring soon.

Merl Paaverud, director of the state’s history agency, announced his plans during a State Historical Society board meeting earlier this month. He said he plans to retire in mid-November.

Paaverud will have 31 years with the state when he retires. Prior to becoming director, he was director of the Archaeology and Historical Preservation Division for several years. His other positions with the SHSND include director of the Historic Sites Division and site supervisor at Fort Totten State Historic Site, the latter starting in 1983.

His retirement will follow the official opening of the expansion of the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck in November. The grand opening is set for Nov. 2, the 125th anniversary of North Dakota’s statehood.

Paaverud said the expansion project that has become a reality today, was supported by six N.D. governors William Guy, Arthur Link, Allen Olson, George Sinner, Ed Schafer and John Hoeven. The six governors met at a forum for the 20th anniversary of the N.D. Heritage Center to discuss the expansion dream.

Of his years with the state agency, he said, “They were wonderful years.” He said one of the best parts of his job is the staff as well as other people he has met as part of his work. He also said it’s always fun to have kids come into the facilities to learn about North Dakota and its history.

A five-member Director Search Committee of the State Historical Board will be meeting next week in the North Dakota Heritage Center to discuss their next steps.