SHSND Foundation News

News Archive

 

Two New Museum Exhibitions To Check Out On Your Next North Dakota Road Trip

Posted 7/27/21 (Tue)

By Kim Jondahl, Audience Engagement & Museum Director

 

Planning a road trip to central or northwestern North Dakota? Two new museum exhibitions are worth the drive! Explore the recently opened Sitting Bull and Ancient Earth: Ceramic Endeavors by Brad Bachmeier, both designed by our State Historical Society of North Dakota staff.

Sitting Bull exhibit panel

The opening panel of the Sitting Bull exhibition.

Sitting Bull, located in the Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center near Williston, invites you to reflect on the life and legacy of the Hunkpapa Lakota leader who lived from 1831 to 1890. Sitting Bull (Tatanka Iyotake) was a loyal and wise champion of his people who continues to impact our culture today.

Intermingled throughout this telling of his life story are thought-provoking insights written by Ron His Horse Is Thunder, former president of Sitting Bull College and great-great-grandson of One Bull, a nephew and adopted son of Sitting Bull.

Sitting Bull is known worldwide by most people, and if you ask them what his legacy is you will receive many different opinions; their opinions will be guided upon their own perceptions of times when Sitting Bull was alive, as well as their thoughts on today’s current events. 

I believe that Sitting Bull was a great warrior who could be compassionate and humble, as well as ferocious and proud. One thing I do know is that he was not a medicine man as some describe him to be. He was a chief who practiced our spiritual ceremonies openly, and was given guidance by the creator. He was not a healer of people, for that is what a medicine man does. Sitting Bull never signed a treaty; never wanted to make war against the U.S. government, all he really wanted for he and his people was to be left alone. 

—Ron His Horse Is Thunder

The graphic design of this exhibition pops with vibrant unexpected colors and patterns. Curator of Collections Research Mark Halvorson and New Media Specialist DeAnne Billings were inspired by the colors of the intricate beadwork on a pipe bag once owned by Sitting Bull. While the artist of this beautiful handiwork is unknown, the bead colors became the rich hues flowing across this exhibition.

The graphic design of this exhibition pops with vibrant unexpected colors and patterns. Curator of Collections Research Mark Halvorson and New Media Specialist DeAnne Billings were inspired by the colors of the intricate beadwork on a pipe bag once owned by Sitting Bull. While the artist of this beautiful handiwork is unknown, the bead colors became the rich hues flowing across this exhibition.

Sitting Bull owned this pipe bag (circa 1870-1879) made of leather, glass, porcupine quill, and sinew. Note the beautiful colors and patterns, which influenced the graphic design of this exhibition. SHSND 12320

Assistant Curator of Collections Lori Nohner and New Media Specialist Andrew Kerr installing colorful panels.

Ancient Earth: Ceramic Endeavors by Brad Bachmeier is on exhibit through December 2021 at the State Museum in Bismarck. 

Ancient Earth: Ceramic Endeavors by Brad Bachmeier features 26 unique pieces of the Fargo artist’s work from the past 12 years. Bachmeier’s intricate artwork, on exhibit at the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum, displays his philosophical approach of “honoring humankind’s ancient and universal partnership with clay.” The artistic vessels tell stories about the universal concepts of accessibility, timelessness, and symbolic power. 

Image of a ceramic vessel with branch on the lid created by artist Brad Bachmeier.

Bachmeier’s numerous archaeological experiences and national park artist-in-residencies have influenced his choice of earth colors and shapes, as well as his passion for incorporating natural materials. Traditional and contemporary ceramic techniques are infused with reeds, cane, gold, rock, copper, and branches.

Bachmeier’s “The Pottery Graveyard.” 

In a delightful departure from most art exhibitions, Bachmeier offers a refreshingly honest glimpse at some of his artistic missteps over the years. He dryly refers to a hodgepodge of broken sherds in one exhibit case as “The Pottery Graveyard,” a testament to the difficulty and fragility of this 30,000-year-old craft. 

Bachmeier’s award-winning artwork can be found in private and public collections in every state. Along with his work as an artist, he is a professor and the program director of art education and art therapy at Minnesota State University Moorhead.  

Take a day to explore these two exhibitions and so much more at the ND Heritage Center & State Museum, the Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center, and nearby Fort Buford. Check out a complete list of indoor and outdoor experiences waiting for you at our state historic sites at history.nd.gov/visit.