The State Historical Society of North Dakota invites all school-age learners and educators to discover the cultural and natural history of North Dakota with us in-person or virtually. Students can enjoy a deep dive into thousands of years of North Dakota and see firsthand how the world has affected North Dakota and how North Dakota has had an impact on the world. With more than fifty historic sites and museums located across the state, we offer a wide range of opportunities for learning outside of the classroom. A journey through the SHSND's diverse range of 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 at one of the ten locations across the state offering guided and self-guided tours and a variety of interpretive programs. Looking for a virtual experience? Join us online through the Ask-An-Expert program, where historic site staff lead a thought-provoking conversation in an authentic historic site.
To begin planning a field trip, please click on one of the following links, or select contact in a site description to email them directly for more information. Programs and amenities vary by site. Sites will need to know the following information to complete your reservation:
- Preferred date(s) and time(s)
- Number in group. We recommend one teacher or chaperone for every ten students.
- Grade level
- School’s name, address, and phone number
- Contact person’s name and email address
- Any special needs or requests
- Remember to arrive early, and allow extra time to visit restrooms and the museum store.
- Guided Tour: Students will experience the historic courtroom, officials’ offices, vault, jail, polling station, and more.
- Free time with hands-on exhibits: After your tour, students can return to their favorite rooms to try out hands-on elements like vintage typewriters, candle stick phones, voting booths, and more. You can even try a circa 1906 calculator with exposed levers and gears.
- Junior Sheriff Activity: Students complete a series of team challenges throughout the courthouse to receive badges and be sworn in as Junior Sheriffs.
Let your students talk to experts ranging from traditional Indiginous cultures to Cold War missile fields.
- A flexible and easy online format
- Student-led dialogue
- Cause-and-effect thinking
- Suitability for ND Studies, history, geography, civics, and more
- Adaptability for your grade and content standards
- Free (for a limited time)
Camp Hancock was an early military camp and served for 45 years as a U.S. Weather Bureau office.
- Guided Tour includes Bismarck’s oldest surviving church (the 1881 Bread of Life Church) and its oldest surviving building (the 1872 officers’ quarters turned 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.
- Weather Map Drawing activity introduces students to plotting weather data on a map.
- Finding the Humidity activity allows students use a whirling hygrometer to determine relative humidity.
The Chateau de Morès is the original structure built by the Marquis in 1883. It is fully furnished, with hundreds of original artifacts displayed in all 26 rooms. Chimney Park contains the ruins of the Marquis’ beef slaughtering plant, including its 85-ft chimney, iron boiler, and stone foundation walls. Our Interpretive Center is a world-class museum on the banks of the Little Missouri River, featuring exhibits about the Marquis de Morès’ businesses in the Badlands, the lifestyle of the Marquis and Madame, and the family’s adventures in Dakota Territory.
- Home Sweet Home Guided Chateau Tour: Peak into the adventurous lives of the de Morès family using their frontier home and original artifacts.
- All in a Day’s Work Guided Chateau Tour: Experience the Chateau the way the servants did, such as navigating in silence, balancing a platter and glasses, and “reading” the code of open and closed doors.
- Let’s Play Interpretive Program: Try some favorite games of the 19th-century aristocracy, such as croquet, graces, hoop trundling, and more.
- Hoof to Plate Interpretive Program: Learn how the Marquis’ beef abattoir (slaughtering plant) operated, what it produced, and why the transcontinental railroad was the key to the entire plan.
- Interpretive Center visit: Using our state-of-the-art exhibit, eight-minute intro film, interpreter prompts, and exploration time, learn how and why the family came from France to the frontier, as well as what led them home.
- $1 per student. Free for teachers and chaperones.
- Please note--we're on Mountain Time
The Former Governors’ Mansion immerses visitors in the daily lives of 20 governors and their families from 1893 to 1960.
- Guided Tour explores three floors of the 1884 Victorian home and an exhibit on the transition from the horse to the automobile in the 1903 carriage house.
- Play Time in the Attic invites students to play with games, toys, and more from the 1890s to the 1950s.
- Toy Steam Engine Demo shows students a working steam engine and how it relates to the working world of the time.
Fort Totten has a long and storied history, starting as a military fort and later as a boarding school for Native American children. As students tour our original historic buildings, they learn about 19th century life on the Great Plains and as a boarding school student. We also incorporate various hands-on activities.
Our museum store offers affordable, child-friendly items to take home as a memory of their trip. A new option this year is History-to-Go bags, which contain an identical selection of souvenirs for each student (but which must be ordered in advance).
Admission is $1 per student and free for chaperones, drivers, and teachers
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.
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 Guided Tour: Our fully-furnished replica of Fort Mandan offers a glimpse back in time to the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
- Navigating Nature Walk: Interpreters take students on a hike along the Missouri River to explore plants and animals Lewis and Clark documented while also learning basics of navigation.
- Sounds of the Expedition: A barking dog? A rushing river? A baby crying? The journey of the Corps of Discovery was a symphony of sounds.
- Packing for the Expedition: Students compare and contrast the items Lewis and Clark packed for the Great American Adventure with what they might pack for a vacation today.
- Native American Sports and Games: Students play games that were popular at the Mandan and Hidatsa villages, giving insight into everyday life at the time.
- Free (Sponsored by Great River Energy)
Our field trips are great outside-the-classroom learning experiences featuring museum exhibits, interpretive programs, outdoor trails, and tours, including a reconstructed living history barracks and a cemetery.
- Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center Guided Tour: features a permanent exhibit on regional history and a temporary exhibit, “The Life of Sitting Bull,” about the famous Lakota leader who turned over his rifle at Fort Buford in 1881.
- Confluence Trail Guided Hike: helps students explore the same plant and animal life Lewis and Clark did.
- Corps of Discovery Lab: is an enriched version of the Confluence Trail Guided Hike in which students learn how to measure their location at designated waypoints using real sextants and artificial horizons—a unique blend of history and STEM skills.
- Fort Buford Guided Tour: 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 turned over his rifle. The meticulously reconstructed barracks are furnished with historically accurate objects illustrating the daily lives of Fort Buford soldiers. If desired, we can also include the restored stone powder magazine, Officer of the Day structure, ghosted guard house, and other features of the site.
- The Buford Weather Station Lab: an interactive activity that allows students to accumulate weather data just like the U.S. Army Signal Corps did during the later 19th century. Fort Buford’s General William Hazen set up one of the nation’s first frontier weather outposts here. By combining weather readings and telegraphic communication, he helped create weather and storm tracking as we know it today.
- $1 per student. Teachers and chaperones free.
Two centuries ago, Pembina was the center of a growing nation of Métis traders and hunters who defined the border region as we know it today. Our main gallery features the Métis people and the fur trade as well as the area’s geologic past, Indigenous peoples, European settlers, and industrialization. Beginning in May, the temporary gallery features the art exhibit Power to the People: Rural Electric Cooperatives in North Dakota, a history exhibit about bringing electricity to rural North Dakota. The seven-story observation tower offers a commanding view of the community, the international border, and the Red River Valley. Our unstaffed satellite sites, Gingras and Kittson Trading Posts in Walhalla, preserve original fur trade cabins and may be worth a stop on your way to or from the museum. Contact us for details.
- Museum tour: including our new Hands-on-History display. Interpreters alternate between guided and self-guided tour segments to maximize student engagement.
- Red River Rendezvous: invites students to participate in the fur trade using replicas of various trade goods from 200 years ago.
- Games from Pembina’s Past: lets kids play sports and games from Chippewa, Métis, Scandinavian, and other traditions that make up the rich legacy of the Pembina region.
- The Cretaceous Aquarium art activity: With art supplies, visual references, and lots of imagination, students will transform the glass curtain walls of the observation deck to their appearance 100 million years ago, when it would have been under the sea with plesiosaurs and mosasaurs swimming by!
- Red River Culture Map: Our inlaid Red River sidewalk becomes a 30-foot chalk art canvas for ox carts, canoes, or whatever your students associate with the Red River Valley.
- Free (for scheduled school groups)
Explore the lives of Air Force crew members who sat a 24/7 nuclear alert. We offer in-depth tours are 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.
- Oscar-Zero Missile Alert Facility Tour: includes 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.
- November-33 Launch Facility: Located 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 turn around.
- $1 per student. Free for teachers and chaperones.
- Due to space constraints, we generally recommend that groups be limited to 42 participants or fewer.