Field Trips

 

Discover the cultural and natural history of North Dakota with us in person or virtually. Students can enjoy a deep dive into millions of years of history and see how the world has influenced the state and how our state impacts the world. With 60 historic sites and museums across the state, we offer learning opportunities near your school. A journey through the State Historical Society’s diverse historic sites and museum exhibits is easily tailored to meet North Dakota academic standards for groups of all ages.

Give students a fresh spin on lessons with a day outside the classroom. Choose from 10 locations offering guided and self-guided tours and interpretive programs. Looking for a virtual experience? Join us online through Ask-An-Expert, where staff lead a thought-provoking conversation from an authentic historic site.

Please select a site for details and to sign up for activities.

Accessibility: Some state historic sites have limited accessibility. Please call ahead to each site for details. Phone numbers can be found on each location’s website linked in its description below.

 

Camp Hancock State Historic Site

red and black building with a black train engine in the background.

Camp Hancock was a military supply depot and Signal Corps office, part of the U.S. government’s efforts to construct a transcontinental railroad to help consolidate control over the region. It would later serve for 45 years as a U.S. Weather Bureau office.

  • Guided Tour (45 minutes): Explore the grounds and view Bismarck’s oldest surviving church (the 1881 Bread of Life Church) and its oldest surviving building (the 1872 officers’ quarters that became a U.S. Weather Bureau office). A hands-on space provides students the opportunity to explore what it was like to work in a 1930s weather forecasting office.
  • Activities:
    • Weather Map Drawing (20 minutes): Students are introduced to plotting weather data. They will then use that information to plot the current weather on a map. This activity is recommended for grades 4 and up.
    • Finding the Humidity (15 minutes): Students will learn how to use a whirling hygrometer to determine relative humidity. This activity is recommended for grades 4 and up.
  • Cost: Free
  • Themes: Local History, Founding of Bismarck, Meteorology
  • Please Note: The on-site church is not heated. We recommend appropriate weather attire.
Former Governors' Mansion State Historic Site

An old green house with a yellow cottage in the back

The Former Governors’ Mansion was constructed in 1884. Today, it immerses visitors in the daily lives of 20 governors and their families from 1893 to 1960.

  • Guided Tour (45 minutes): Explore three floors of the 1884 Victorian home and an exhibit on the transition from the horse to the automobile in the 1903 carriage house.
  • Self-Guided Tour (30 minutes): Explore the mansion and carriage house at your own pace.
  • Playtime in the Attic (15 minutes): Play with games, toys, and other items from the 1890s to the 1950s.
  • Cost: Free
  • Themes: Turn of the Century, Family Life
Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and Fort Mandan State Historic Site

exterior view of a brown building with green trim and roof. Three statues stand in front of the building. They are of Lewis & Clark and a Native American

The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center stands at the crossroads of culture and commerce on the northern Plains. When Lewis and Clark arrived at the Mandan and Hidatsa villages in 1804, they simply became the most famous of many people who visited in search of knowledge and trade. Today's visitors will experience engaging exhibits, hundreds of period artifacts, world-class art collections and nationally certified interpreters who tell the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition like never before.

Step back in time at the reconstructed Fort Mandan, a historically furnished, full-size replica of the fort in which the Lewis and Clark Expedition overwintered in 1804-1805.

  • Guided Tours:
    • Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center (45 minutes): Our world-class museum in the heart of North Dakota features exhibits about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Fort Clark and the fur trade, the journey of Prince Maximilian and Karl Bodmer, and our agricultural history from early Mandan and Hidatsa farmers to the present.
    • Fort Mandan (30 minutes): Our historically furnished replica offers a glimpse back in time to the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
  • Programs:
    • Navigating Nature Walk (30 minutes): Interpreters teach the basics of navigation during a hike along the Missouri River to explore plants and animals documented by Lewis and Clark. Please note this walk is recommended for ages 8 and up.
    • Packing for the Expedition (30 minutes): Students compare and contrast the items Lewis and Clark packed for their great American adventure with how people might pack for a vacation today.
    • Native American Sports and Games (30 minutes): Students play games that were popular at the Mandan and Hidatsa villages, giving insight into everyday life at the time.
  • Shop in the Museum Store (20 minutes): Our Museum Store offers affordable, child-friendly items to take home as a memory of their trip.
    • History-To-Go Bags: These must be ordered when booking the tour.  
      • Explorer's Bag: This $5 bag contains a compass, historical document reproductions: "Lewis and Clark Expedition 1804-1806," Fort Mandan-themed tattoos, pencil, sticker, postcard, bookmark, and candy stick.
      • Sacagawea Bag: This $10 bag contains a leather pouch beaded bracelet kit, arrowhead, pencil, sticker, postcard, bookmark, and candy stick.
      • Naturalist Bag: This $10 bag contains a mini paint set, make your own journal kit, pencil, sticker, postcard, bookmark, and candy stick.
  • Cost: Free (sponsored by Great River Energy, Rainbow Energy, and Apex Energy)
  • Themes: Lewis and Clark, Navigation, Native American Recreation, Agriculture
Chateau de Morès State Historic Site

light gray house with a red porch and roof sits on green grass with a blue sky and buttes in the background

The Chateau de Morès is the original structure built by the Marquis in 1883. Containing hundreds of original artifacts displayed in all 26 rooms, this site features the Marquis de Morès’ businesses in the Badlands, the lifestyle of the Marquis and Madame, and the family’s adventures in Dakota Territory. Chimney Park contains the ruins of the Marquis’ beef slaughtering plant, including its 85-foot chimney, iron boiler, and stone foundation walls.

  • Guided Tours (45 minutes): Spend time in the interpretive center and the De Morès’ hunting lodge as our guides provide you with information about the family and the Great Dakota Boom era.
  • Shop in the Museum Store (20 minutes): Our Museum Store offers affordable, child-friendly items to take home as a memory of their trip.
    • History-To-Go Bags: This $5 Wrangler's Bag contains a horseshoe magnet, pencil, sticker, postcard, bookmark, and candy stick. These must be ordered when booking the tour.
  • Cost: Admission is $1 per student and complimentary for chaperones, bus drivers, and teachers.
  • Themes: Great Dakota Boom, Ranching, Hunting, Railroads
  • Please note: The site is on Mountain time.
Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center and Fort Buford State Historic Site

A wooden walkway with interpretive signage on the side leads to an old, gray building with red trim. There is also a tipi in the background on the other side.

The Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center tells the story of the confluence of these two mighty rivers and provides the same magnificent view that Lewis and Clark Expedition members enjoyed when they visited in 1805 and 1806. Fort Buford State Historic Site preserves remnants of a vital frontier plains military post. Together, a visit here offers museum exhibits, interpretive programs, outdoor trails, and tours, including a reconstructed living history barracks and a cemetery.

  • Guided Tours:
    • Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center (45 minutes): Hear an introduction addressing the importance of the confluence, including the rivers, flora and fauna, and the people who lived here and used the rivers, and why it remains important today. Weather permitting, the introduction is outside to offer a better view of the confluence. Introductions for the exhibit galleries are provided. If staffing is available, a guide is available for each exhibit gallery.
    • Confluence Trail Hike (30 minutes): This tour takes place along the walking trail near the Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center. It helps students explore the same plant and animal life Lewis and Clark did.
    • Fort Buford (45 minutes): The restored Field Officer’s Quarters contains exhibits on the daily life of an officer and his family. This is the building where Sitting Bull surrendered to the U.S. Army in 1881. The meticulously reconstructed barracks are furnished with historically accurate objects illustrating the daily lives of Fort Buford soldiers. If desired, additional time can be added to include the restored stone powder magazine, Officer of the Day structure, guard house outline, and other features of the site.
  • Programs:
    • Buffalo Soldiers (30 minutes): This talk shares the history of the Buffalo Soldiers, their formation as a cavalry unit, and their time spent in North Dakota. Discover the ways they impacted western Dakota Territory and its developing communities. Experience elements of cavalry life.
  • Shop in the Museum Store (20 minutes): Our Museum Store offers affordable, child-friendly items to take home as a memory of their trip.
  • Cost: Admission is $1 per student and complimentary for chaperones, teachers, and bus drivers.
  • Themes: Fort Life, Sitting Bull, Lewis and Clark, Nature, Native American Commerce and Community
  • Please note: Allow 15 minutes to travel between the Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center and Fort Buford State Historic Site
Fort Totten State Historic Site

Old, white buildings with red trim are shown behind snowy trees.

Fort Totten has a long and storied history, starting as a military fort and later serving as a boarding school for Native American children.

  • Guided Tour (60 minutes): Tour the original historic buildings and learn about 19th century life on the Great Plains and what life was like for a boarding school student. Incorporated are various hands-on activities such as hoop trundling and tchung-kee.
  • Shop in the Museum Store (20 minutes): Our Museum Store offers affordable, child-friendly items to take home as a memory of their trip.
    • History-To-Go Bags: This $5 bag contains a pencil, sticker, postcard, bookmark, candy stick, and classic marbles or jacks. These must be ordered when booking the tour.
  • Cost: Admission is $1 per student and complimentary for chaperones, bus drivers, and teachers.
  • Themes: Dakota Times, Native American Boarding Schools
Pembina State Museum

the exterior of a brick building is shown with a tall tower coming up from the middle of it

Pembina is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in North Dakota and served as the center of a growing nation of Métis traders and hunters who defined the border region. The Pembina State Museum showcases the history of the diverse people who have worked and lived here. From the seven-story observation tower on site, visitors can witness nearby historic landmarks including the border crossing.

Consider visiting our unstaffed satellite sites on your way to or from the museum. Gingras Trading Post and Walhalla state historic sites preserve original fur trade cabins. Walhalla State Historic Site is home to the Kittson cabin.

  • Guided Museum Tour (60 minutes): Tour the permanent exhibit featuring trade and transportation of the Red River Valley and temporary gallery as well as our new Hands-on History exhibit that expands the Indigenous and fur trade stories. Interpreters alternate between guided and self-guided tour segments to maximize student engagement.
  • Observation Tower (15 minutes): Visitors will ascend the seven-story observation tower to take in a bird’s-eye view of the state’s oldest settlement. This activity is appropriate for all ages. Please see pricing details below.
  • Programs and Activities:
    • Red River Rendezvous: Students can travel back in time and participate in the fur trade using replicas of various trade goods from 200 years ago. There are two versions to better fit differing group needs:
      • Condensed Experience (45 minutes): Appropriate for grades 4 and up.
      • Full Experience (60 minutes): Appropriate for grades 6 and up.
    • Games From Pembina’s Past (30 minutes): Students play sports and games from Chippewa, Métis, Scandinavian, and other traditions that make up the rich legacy of the Pembina region. This activity is appropriate for any age group.
    • Arrows and Atlatls (60 minutes): Students take aim and see what skills were needed for prehistoric hunters to survive the Plains of North Dakota. With bows, arrows, and spear-throwers, they will take turns trying to hit our life-size bison and bear targets. This outdoor activity is appropriate for grades 4 and up and is weather dependent.
    • The Cretaceous Aquarium Art Activity (30 minutes): This activity takes place in the observation tower. With art supplies, visual references, and lots of imagination, students will transform the glass walls of the observation tower to their appearance 100 million years ago, when it would have been under the sea with plesiosaurs and mosasaurs swimming by! The activity is appropriate for all ages.
    • Red River Culture Map (30 minutes): Our inlaid Red River sidewalk becomes a 30-foot chalk art canvas for oxcarts, canoes, or whatever your students associate with the Red River Valley. This outdoor activity is appropriate for all ages and is weather dependent.
  • Shop in the Museum Store (20 minutes): Our Museum Store offers affordable, child-friendly items to take home as a memory of their trip.
    • History-To-Go Bag: This $8 Voyageur's Bag contains a leather pouch beaded bracelet kit, pencil, sticker, postcard, bookmark, and candy stick. These must be ordered when booking the tour.
  • Cost: Admission is free for students, teachers, chaperones, and bus drivers.
  • Please note: There is a $2 observation tower fee for adults beyond the 10:1 student ratio.
  • Themes: Fur Trade, Ojibwa, Métis, French-Canadians, Red River
Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site

A red chair is shown sitting in the middle of walls of control panels

At the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site, explore the lives of Air Force crew members who experienced 24/7 nuclear alert. We offer in-depth tours of a one-of-a-kind Minuteman missile command site that was left virtually intact with objects including furniture, communications antennas and equipment, and even authentic toilet paper from when the U.S. Air Force decommissioned the site in July 1997.

  • Guided Tours:
    • Oscar-Zero Missile Alert Facility (2 Hours): A 1.5-hour tour includes a 22-minute documentary, America’s Ace in the Hole: North Dakota and the Cold War, an above ground tour of the living facilities for support and security staff, and a tour of the Launch Control Equipment Building and Launch Control Center 50 feet below ground. Please note this tour is recommended for ages 12 and up.
    • November-33 Launch Facility (20 Minutes): Located 2.5 miles east of Cooperstown and 7 miles southeast of Oscar-Zero, the former missile silo can be viewed topside as it looked on ready alert during the Cold War. Interpretive signage is available, and the site supervisor is available on request for a guided tour of the outdoor facility. Please note that buses can only back in or out. There is no turnaround area. Visitors can enjoy the topside with a self-guided tour exploring a formerly operational site.
  • Shop in the Museum Store (20 minutes): Our Museum Store offers affordable, child-friendly items to take home as a memory of their trip.
    • History-To-Go Bags: These must be ordered when booking the tour.
      • Missileer’s Bag: This $10 bag contains a Warrior of the North challenge coin, pencil, sticker, postcard, bookmark, and candy stick.
      • Pilot's Bag: This $5 bag contains a glider airplane kit, pencil, sticker, postcard, bookmark, and candy stick.
  • Cost: Admission is $1 per student and complimentary for teachers, chaperones, and bus drivers.
    • Due to space constraints, we recommend that groups be limited to 35 participants or fewer per 2-hour tour.
  • Themes: Cold War, Military History, Technology, Nuclear History, Science
Stutsman County Courthouse State Historic Site

Interior of an old courthouse looking down from the balcony

The 1883 Stutsman County Courthouse is North Dakota’s oldest surviving courthouse and only remaining building directly related to the activities of the 1880s statehood movement.

  • Guided Tour (30 minutes): Experience the historic courtroom, officials’ offices, vault, jail, and polling station. After the tour, teachers can choose from the following activities.
  • Activities:
    • Hands-on History (20 minutes): Students may return to their favorite rooms to try out historical hands-on items that would have been used in the courthouse, such as vintage typewriters, candlestick phones, and voting booths. Students can also try a circa 1906 calculator with exposed levers and gears.
    • Junior Sheriff Activity (20 minutes): Students complete a series of team challenges throughout the courthouse to receive badges and be sworn in as junior sheriffs.
  • Cost: Free
  • Theme: Civics
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Scheduling Details
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Contact Information

building with a big glass box in the middle

North Dakota’s largest museum features four museum galleries tracing the state’s rich history from its earliest geologic formation 600 million years ago to today. We invite you to experience the beautiful museum spaces showcasing our people, our landscape, and our current and future development.

Please visit statemuseum.nd.gov/visit/museum/groups to fill out the group visit form for the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum.

Thank you for your interest in a field trip! We will contact you to confirm your request and answer any questions. Please note that your time is not confirmed until you have been contacted by our team.

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