Fundraising for North Dakota Military Museum enters public phase

Posted 7/06/23 (Thu)


Public fundraising has begun for the North Dakota Military Museum that will be added to the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum on the Capitol grounds in Bismarck.

The project is a collaboration between the state National Guard and State Historical Society. The museum will be built as a wing on the southeast side of the Heritage Center.

The facility is estimated to cost $40 million. The North Dakota Legislature earlier this year approved a $20 million line of credit from the state-owned Bank of North Dakota. Senate Bill 2018 states that "It is the intent of the sixty-eighth legislative assembly that the State Historical Society request funding from the sixty-ninth legislative assembly from the Legacy earnings fund to repay the line of credit." The Legacy Fund is the state's oil tax savings account.

Organizers hope to raise similar funds with private donations. The North Dakota National Guard Foundation hired Fargo-based Pace Fundraising to help with the campaign.

The idea began three years ago when Col. Brock Larson and now-retired Lt. Col. Shirley Olgeirson with the North Dakota National Guard Foundation approached State Historic Preservation Officer Bill Peterson about building a military museum for the National Guard. Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann, the Guard's adjutant general, received permission during the 2021 Legislature to raise money for the facility.

The idea grew over time, and the National Guard and State Historical Society signed an agreement on Oct. 17, 2022, to collaborate on a museum that will include all branches of the military. It also will feature the contributions of Native American military societies in North Dakota and North America.

“This military museum, the way it’s going to be designed and the ability to share that content across the state and across the region, really will make a difference,” Dohrmann said.

Officials are aiming to break ground sometime next year and hope to open the museum in 2026. The State Historical Society will operate the museum once it’s finished.