Center for Heritage Renewal

North Dakota State University

Welcome to the Center for Heritage Renewal, North Dakota State University. The center is a locus for applied research and public service in the areas of historic preservation and heritage tourism. Developer of the center is Tom Isern, Professor of History & University Distinguished Professor. For standing information about the center, its mission, and its organization, see links at left of this home page. For ongoing projects, see links at right. For recent and occasional news, see the weblog framed into the center.


Organization approved by State Board of Higher Education 17 May 2006

Developer & Director: Tom Isern
Telephone 701-799-2942

Associate Director: Angela Smith

Research Associate: Richard Rothaus

Special Projects Coordinator: Clarence Herz

Assistant to the Director: Amanda Biles

Graduate Associates: Robert Kurtz, Chris Hummel, Carole Butcher, Dakota Goodhouse, Ken Smith, Kip Thorson

Contact the Center

Mailing Address
PO Box 1390
Fargo ND 58107-1390

Physical location: West Building, a.k.a Knox Building, at 3551 7th Avenue North, Room 121


The mission of the center for Heritage Renewal is to identify, preserve, and capitalize on the heritage resources of North Dakota and the northern plains.


1. To assist state agencies, private organizations, and the people of the state and region in generating prosperity and quality of life from heritage resources

2. To establish a center for expertise and action in the fields of historic preservation and heritage tourism

3. To provide opportunities for learning, employment, and internships for NDSU students (undergraduate and graduate)


1. Scholarship: We are research scholars working for a research university. This informs all our work.

2. Integrity: We strive to meet, indeed to elevate, professional standards of practice and public expectations of ethics.

3. Respect: We hold all citizens of the northern plains in esteem, celebrate our common heritage, and respect our diversity of peoples.

Institute for Regional Studies

Administratively, the center is attached to the institute, reporting via the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.


Historic Architectural Survey of Bowman County

Survey of Iron Cross Cemeteries in North Dakota

Research on the Missouri Coteau

Research on the Walla Theater

Research on Whitestone Hill Battlefield

Sharing Sites

Heritage Trails - the center's Facebook group for grassroots heritage tourism

281: Great Plains Highway - the center's Facebook page for grassroots heritage tourism on Highway 281

ND 200: Highway at the Heart of North Dakota - for heritage tourism along this grand avenue

Dakota War Dialog - discussion associated with the center initiative on the Dakota War in Dakota Territory

Heritage Video - the center's YouTube site

Heritage Image - the center's Flickr site

Panoramio Account - used by the center to submit images to Google Earth

Institutional Memberships

The center is an institutional member of the following organizations:


Ongoing projects and cooperative relationships that meet the mission of the CHR

Man Camp Dialogues

Public programs on man camp life in the Bakken

The Dakota War in Dakota Territory

Battlefield research and public programming

Centennials & Jubilees

Celebrating North Dakota communities

German-Russian Country

Working with the Tri County Tourism Alliance to stimulate grassroots heritagde tourism

Big Smoke: Old-Time Threshing Shows

Living history thrives at these celebrations of rural heritage

Newcomer Narratives

Who are the people repopulating our prairie towns? Why are they coming? And what do they contribute to the revitalization of our communities?

Fall Suppers of the Northern Plains

A study and celebration of a distinctive seasonal ritual

Remembrance in Stone

A heritage tourist's guide to historical monuments of the northern plains

Great Books of the Great Plains

The CHR, in cooperation with local communities and NDSU Extension, organizes book discussion programs emphasizing regional heritage and development.

Ethics of History

Discussions are underway with the Northern Plains Ethics Institute for a long-range project examining the ethics of doing history in a wide range of venues--amateur, professional, academic, public, local, international.

Highways & Trails of the WPA

Under a grant from the ND DoT, the CHR is working to update the 1938 WPA tours of North Dakota and put them online.

Big Things

Documentation of roadside landmarks of the Great Plains

Ladbury Lectures

The CHR assists and supports the Friends of Ladbury Church in presenting the annual Ladbury Lectures in the restored, historic church.

Germans from Russia Heritage Center

The CHR provides technical and professional support to the Dakota Memories Oral History Project of the GRHC.

Center for Community Vitality

The CCV, a program of NDSU Extension, receives assistance from the CHR for the project, "Building Community Vitality Through Arts & Heritage"

Partners in the Field