Archives Month at the North Dakota Heritage Center

Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 4:54 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - It’s easier to step back in time this month. The Heritage Center is celebrating its archives and invites residents to come in and see North Dakota history.

A picture can be worth a thousand words, and the many photos held in the archives at the North Dakota Heritage Center help people reconnect with their heritage.

“And I remember, I pulled out this composite of legislative photos for this woman and showed her exactly who her great uncle, I think it was, and she burst into tears,” said Sarah M. Walker, head of reference services at The State Historical Society.

Nationally, it’s Archives Month, and Governor Doug Burgum has also declared October as Archives Month for North Dakota to showcase the well-preserved archives.

“Keeping our history is a way to look into the past, and that can help us build into the future,” said Walker.

The Heritage Center has over eight miles of archives, and that doesn’t include the digital vaults of information.

“So, the public being able to access that and have specific access to people, like family members or ancestors, that did something specific. Having access to that is really important, I think,” said Olivia Burmeister, a work-study student.

The archives have maps, photos, books, newspapers, and local and state records.

“The archives are really important because we store the two-dimensional objects that tell us about the life that has happened in this specific topic,” said Walker.

The archives include artifacts from the state of North Dakota and the region we’re part of, so residents can access documents that they wouldn’t usually be able to get a hold of.

“A lot of times, these things are often restricted or have limited access. So, it’s really nice for the public to be able to come in and access that and keep that history alive,” said Burmeister.

For State Archives Month, the Heritage Center is doing free behind the scene tours of the storage spaces on Tuesday.

Last year, more than 3,000 people stopped by to look up state documents in old newspapers.