In March 1965, the Geographical Center Historical Society
purchased 20 acres of land to establish a pioneer village museum in Rugby, N.D.
The Geographical Center Historical Society’s mission is to document, preserve and interpret the history and ongoing story of North Central North Dakota for the people of the region and for visitors from around the world, through educational and entertaining programming and through displays of artifacts and historic buildings at Prairie Village Museum.
Board of Directors
The historical society board of directors is responsible for operations at the Prairie Village Museum. Board members are elected by historical society members.
David Bednarz, President
Steve Dockter, Vice President
Steve Fritel, Treasurer
Paula Jelsing, Secretary
Historical Society started it all
Prairie Village Museum was founded by the Pierce County Historical Society. Organized in 1959, the society spent years planning for a pioneer village and museum. Members solicited donations to its collections throughout the region and in 1964 the society changed its name to reflect the museum’s reach.
The Geographical Center Historical Society continues as sole owner and operator of the museum. Member volunteers and a handful of paid staff built Prairie Village Museum into the important regional institution it is today.
20 historic buildings, 6 exhibit halls
Zion Lutheran Church was first building moved from its rural location to the museum's village square. Gradually buildings from area communities were added, including: York Jail, Pleasant Lake Bank, Bottineau Telephone office, Penn Depot, Juniata and Silva schools, and more.
All of our historic buildings are fully furnished and connected by a boardwalk encircling the village square. The first of our exhibition halls was dedicated in 1969. Today the Prairie Village Museum includes six exhibition halls and 20 historic buildings.