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How Technology Enhances the Museum Experience

Entertainment December 29, 2014

The North Dakota Heritage Center, located on the Capitol grounds in Bismarck, is home to the State Museum, the State Historical Society of North Dakota, the North Dakota Geological Survey and the State Archives.

The building opened in 1981 – with a 2010 expansion project adding 97,000 square feet of exhibit, storage and office space.

Half of the expansion, 48,000 square feet, provides more public space and exhibit galleries, and half is on the lower level for daily agency operations. The size was determined by a 25- to 30-year need for collections growth.

RUSSEL REID AUDITORIUM AND GREAT PLAINS THEATER

The auditorium, seating up to 275 people, showcases lively programming including music and theater performances, educational seminars and films. During off-peak times, the auditorium will be showcasing historical documentary films. The smaller Great Plains Theater also offers entertainment options for groups of up to 70 people and serves as an overflow room for the auditorium.

ADAPTATION GALLERY

Life-size replicas of Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops tower over museumgoers. Children are learning through interactive dinosaur games on iPads located throughout the gallery. Interactive displays, tables and SMART Boards offer a new, hands-on approach for parents and kids visiting the museum. Touch an interactive table for a timeline of geological changes in North Dakota from 600 million years ago to present.

SURVEILLANCE, SECURITY & INTRUSION

AVI installed an extensive camera system for surveillance that includes over 120 cameras – 60 on the old system, 64 with the recent expansion. The cameras are broken down into front/side/back doors, hallways, all galleries and the front plaza.
“We have an extensive camera and alarm system to help handle our load as security officers,” explained David Schecht, security officer at The Heritage Center. “We have to help protect the invaluable assets we have on display.”

LOWER LEVEL OPERATIONS & COLLECTIONS

The Heritage Center staff is housed in the basement, along with the Museum’s collections. Security key cards, along with facial recognition software, protect the entire floor.

DISPLAYS IN COMMONS

A central “Hub of History” rounds out the forum with interactive touchscreen kiosks displaying maps, North Dakota history and general gallery information. Large displays are hung above each kiosk for easy visibility when large group tours come through.

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