About the Foundation
The State Historical Society of North Dakota Foundation is a private, non-profit organization supported by membership and donations. The Foundation was formed in 1965 by the state legislature to generate private financial support for the State Historical Society’s projects and programs that cannot be funded by the legislature. Governor William Guy initiated the concept of the Foundation and former Governors Brunsdale and Davis supported the formation of this organization.
The State Historical Society of North Dakota Foundation is responsible for assisting the State Historical Society of North Dakota when the Society is unable to financially support an initiative due to regulations placed upon the Society as a State Agency. While the majority of the Society’s expenses are covered through appropriations from the State Legislature and a variety of Federal grants, there are other necessary expenses and projects of the Society that are funded by the Foundation.
A perfect example of this relationship on a major scale occurred during the Heritage Center expansion. In 2009, the Legislative Assemblies authorized $39.7 million towards the $51.7 million project. The remaining $12 million was raised by the Foundation to complete expansion effort. In 2014, the state celebrated the 125th anniversary of statehood and the grand opening of the newly expanded North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum.
Recent Foundation Initiatives in 2023
NATIONAL HISTORY DAY: In a notable act of philanthropy, Jim and Gerd Tuchscherer recently contributed a $100,000 donation to the State Historical Society of North Dakota Foundation. This generous gift will establish an endowment that will play a pivotal role in funding stipends for the victorious participants of the National History Day state contest, enabling them to attend the prestigious National contest in Washington DC. The State-level National History Day contest offers students in grades 6–12 an opportunity to immerse themselves in history through research conducted in libraries, archives, and museums. Projects centered on North Dakota subjects that achieve high recognition will receive financial awards from the Tuchscherer endowment.
ARCHEOLOGY: The Foundation recently purchased a Ground Penetrating Radar machine for the Archaeology & Historic Preservation Division. This machine assists in non-invasive archeological explorations including site mapping and excavation planning.
JOINT MILITARY MUSEUM ADVISORY COMMITTEE (JMMAC): The Foundation is actively engaged in the Joint Military Museum Advisory Committee (JMMAC), which is dedicated to the construction of an additional Military Gallery wing onto the Heritage Center. As a committee member, the Foundation plays a key role in influencing decision-making processes concerning construction design, artifact inclusion, budgetary operations, naming opportunities, and donor recognition.
STATE HISTORICAL SITES: The Foundation plays a crucial role in addressing certain maintenance needs of State Historical Sites across North Dakota. Thanks to donations received, the Foundation can provide support for site improvements, including road upgrades, parking enhancements, wayfinding markers, interpretative signs, and picnic shelters. Notably, the Foundation recently funded the updating of interpretive signs at the Lake Jesse State Historic Site.
SPONSORED SUPPORT OF HISTORICAL SITES: The Foundation facilitated a $15,000 sponsorship gift from Great River Energy, Apex Clean Energy and Rainbow Energy Center to provide free admission for school fieldtrips to the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center (LCIC). This sponsorship also includes a summertime LCIC farmers’ market open to the Washburn surrounding community.
NATIVE AMERICAN HALL OF HONOR: The Foundation is a sponsor of the Native American Hall of Honor, an annual program and exhibit recognizing Native Americans who have excelled in representing their tribes and cultures. The program is a partnership of the ND Indian Affairs Commission, the Society, and the Foundation. Individuals are recognized for traditional and contemporary achievements. Nominees may be living or in memoriam. Honorees are inducted into the Hall of Honor in a formal ceremony and are recognized in the Hall of Honor exhibit at the Heritage Center and State Museum with a formal display of their personal artifacts and a video that shares their remarkable story.
LEGISLATIVE HALL OF HONORS: The Foundation is responsible for the North Dakota Legislative Hall of Honors which is home to five prestigious Memorial/Hall of Fame displays. The Hall of Honors is home to the ND Lions Hall of Fame which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exemplary dedication to the Lions; the North Dakota Peace Officer Memorial Program which honors fallen officers with their life and career stories; the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame which honors aviators who earned exceptional recognition in aviation; the North Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame which features the biographies of leaders in the newspaper industry; the North Dakota Broadcasters Association Pioneer Award which recognizes the legends of North Dakota Television and Radio; and the ND Heritage Family Memorial Program, sponsored by the ND Funeral Directors Association, which provides obituaries of departed ND citizens. Each obituary is available for public access through the State Archives.
CULTURAL HERITAGE CENTERS: The Foundation is providing North Dakota Cultural Heritage Institutions (museums, libraries, local historical societies) access to an affordable plan to utilize the latest data storage technology for a reliable and secure solution to record and manage their consilidated collections. Plus, by using this technology, the data entered by the local Cultural Heritage Institution can be accessible, if desired, to other institutions or on the web for public access.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR SOCIETY STAFF MEMBERS: The Foundation provides financial support for professional development for agency staff to attend a variety of professional development events throughout the year.
SOCIETY NIGHT AT THE BALLPARK: The Foundation hosted a State Historical Society night for staff at a Bismarck Larks game at the Municipal Ballpark. This team-building event brought together members of the agency for an evening of entertainment and baseball.
VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION LUNCH: The Foundation sponsored its annual Volunteer Fall Social Appreciation Lunch to show gratitude to all the State Historical Society volunteers. The event included a lunch and dessert, followed by a recognition program, to acknowledge the valuable contributions of the volunteers. In addition to the appreciation lunch, the Foundation offers membership benefits to its volunteers in recognition of their dedicated service.
The State Historical Foundation maintains its dedication to supporting the State Historical Society of North Dakota, the primary history agency for the state. In 2023, the Foundation played a crucial role in actively participating in statewide initiatives aimed at ensuring the secure display and storage of valuable collections that vividly represent North Dakota's rich history. Furthermore, the Foundation assists in the publication and distribution of the North Dakota History: Journal of the Northern Plains, the agency's premier historical research periodical, reaching an annual audience of over 2,500 members. The Foundation is grateful for the unwavering support of its members and recognizes their important role in fostering the connection between history and people through statewide initiatives that encompasses museums, research libraries, preservation projects, educational programs, archaeological pursuits, publications, and social media outlets.