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News 2014

Steve Stark will be featured speaker at Geographical Center Historical Society dinner April 14, 2013.

Friends of the Museum will be serving up family fun at the Old-Fashioned Holiday Dinner, Friday, Dec. 5, at the Rugby Eagles Club.

Holiday Dinner coming up Dec. 5

Family fun planned at Rugby Eagles

November 2014

​Prairie Village Museum’s 4th annual Old-Fashioned Holiday Dinner, Bake Sale, and Gift Basket Bidding will be held 5 to 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 5, at the Rugby Eagles Club.


Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there from 5:30 to 6:30 to meet and greet kids. Attendees may purchase homemade holiday baking and chances on an array of gift baskets ready for Christmas giving. Holiday music will fill the air. And Linda Lynse will be serving up roast beef and all the trimmings.


Featured musicians Micah Scott, guitar. and Lucus Antonson, fiddle, will fill the room with sounds of the season at 6:30 p.m. and pianists Pam Anderson, Barb Lee and Glenda Mack will keep the atmosphere festive throughout the dinner.


"One of our young patrons recently referred to the dinner as 'the kids' Christmas party at the Eagles.' That says a lot about how much children enjoy themselves," said museum executive diretor Cathy Jelsing. "We feel great about providing a family-friendly kick-off to the holiday season."


Dinner tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids (6 to 12); no charge for preschoolers. Tickets may be purchased at the door. The menu is roast beef, potatoes, gravy, corn, carrots, rolls, bars, coffee and lemonade.


Thanks to the sponsorship of Envision, Merchants Bank, Rugby Lumber and the Rugby Convention & Visitors’ Bureau, all proceeds go to support the Geographical Center Historical Society and Prairie Village Museum.

Steve Stark will be featured speaker at Geographical Center Historical Society dinner April 14, 2013.

Journalist Todd Melby at work.

Steve Stark will be featured speaker at Geographical Center Historical Society dinner April 14, 2013.

Rancher Marty Young Bear, with his companion and his daughter.

Oil boom topic of at Prairie Talks event

Documentry maker, rancher to share their perspectives

September 2014

Todd Melby, lead producer of “Black Gold Boom,” a public media project documenting North Dakota’s oil boom, and New Town rancher Marty Young Bear, an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes, will be featured speakers at the Prairie Talks presentation at 2 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 7, at Prairie Village Museum, Rugby.


North Dakota’s oil and gas producing counties have experienced rapid growth and industrialization, the effects of which are trickling across the state. Melby and Young Bear will share their perspectives on how the oil boom is changing the face of North Dakota.


The event is free and open to the public. Attendees also may tour the museum at no cost. Treats and coffee will be served following the talk.


In addition to producing “Black Gold Boom,” Melby is directing a PBS television documentary on the boom. A native of Hettinger, N.D., Melby is a senior producer for the public media nonprofit 2 below zero. He’s won multiple national journalism awards, including Edward R. Murrow and Sigma Delta Chi awards. 


A rancher and saddle bronc rider, Young Bear co-operates the Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation’s Horse Power Program, a holistic wellness program utilizing horse culture to help families on the Fort Berthold reservation. He’s also an environmental advocate concerned with the preservation of the land for horses, animals and people.


This Prairie Talks event is co-sponsored by the Friends of Prairie Village Museum and supported in part by the North Dakota Humanities Council. Freewill offerings are accepted to help defray costs.


The Prairie Talks series was started to connect people in north-central North Dakota with people from around the world. Series founder Kristi Rendahl was born and raised in Benson County and graduated from Rugby High School. Prairie Talks has an advisory council comprised of residents of the Rugby area.


For more information, call the museum at 776-6414, email or visit

Steve Stark will be featured speaker at Geographical Center Historical Society dinner April 14, 2013.

Celtic band GreenMan of Minot will be performing at the Village Fair Aug. 10.

Steve Stark will be featured speaker at Geographical Center Historical Society dinner April 14, 2013.

Members of the Western Canadian Wheelwright's Assocation will be demonstrating their craft on Aug. 9 and 10 during the Village Fair.

Wheelwrights adding exciting dimension to Village Fair

Musical entertainment ranges from Celtic to Bluegrass to Rock 'n' Roll

August 2014

The Village Fair is all about tradition and on Sunday, Aug. 10, Prairie Village Museum will deliver with lots of music, pioneer demonstrations, fun for kids, an art show, and lots of great food. Featured entertainers include traditional Celtic band GreenMan, country-blues trio Highway 43, and 14-year-old up-and-comer Brittan Grubb.


A difference this year is that the fair is being expanded to two days. On Saturday, Aug. 9, fairgoers will find members of the Western Canadian Wheelwright’s Association at work making wagon wheels the old-fashioned way. This is the first time this organization has gathered on U.S. soil and they’ll be demonstrating their skills with wood and iron, fire and water from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 9 and 10.


On Saturday, Aug. 9, focus will be on the wheelwrights. Friends of the Museum will serve burgers and hotdogs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. And the Dakota Playboys of New Rockford will fill the air with old-time music that afternoon. “This will be a quieter day and a great time to observe the wheelwrights, listen to some fun music, take in the art show, and explore the 30 buildings that make up our museum,” said Cathy Jelsing, executive director.


Activities on Sunday, Aug. 10, start at 9 a.m. with volunteers serving up pancakes and sausage in the Depot (serving goes until noon) and the wheelwrights at their post outside the Livery Barn. At 9:15 Pastor Nathan Steen and members of Glad Tidings Assembly of God will lead an all-faiths service in the historic Zion Lutheran Church. At 11:30 a.m. Brittan Grubb and Bill Frankie of Mandan will kick off musical entertainment with an eclectic repertoire of pop, country, alternative and blues.


Featured on the big Back Alley stage will be Celtic band GreenMan. The Minot quartet melds traditional Celtic music of Ireland, Scotland and Wales with contemporary arrangements by the Chieftains and newer traditionalists like Solas and Dervish. Highway 43, a seasoned trio from the Turtle Mountains, plays a little bit of county, bluegrass and rock ‘n’ roll. With three stages and two performances by each band, the music will go until the gates close at 5 p.m.


Food equals fun at the Village Fair and on Aug. 10 Friends of the Museum will deliver with burgers, hotdogs, tacos in a bag, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, and German potato salad. Sweets include Sons of Norway rommegrot, lefse and wafflers; homemade pie baked by the Rugby Eagles Auxiliary; smoothies, root beer floats and Pride Dairy ice cream. Burgers and hot dogs will be available for purchase from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 9.


Admission is $7 for adults; $6 for seniors (65+) and college students; $3 for kids 7-17; free for kids 6 and under. Geographical Center Historical Society members ($30 or $15) attend for free.

Steve Stark will be featured speaker at Geographical Center Historical Society dinner April 14, 2013.
Prairie Village Museum hosting Bloch Party

17-foot log from Switzerland center of global arts event

July 2014

A global, multidisciplinary arts event inspired by the Bloch – a 17-foot tree trunk from Switzerland – is coming to Rugby Monday, July 28. Prairie Village Museum is hosting a Bloch Party to give area artists and musicians the opportunity to interact with the Bloch and Swiss artists Marcus Gossolt and Johannes Hedinger, photographer Barbara Hauser, and videographer Fabian Kaiser.


The party will start around 10 a.m. when Dean Hagen and his blacksmithing apprentices start to work on 17-piece turtle and metal ring to be placed on the top cut end of Bloch. The party will continue throughout the day, culminating in a free concert at 7:15 p.m. by nationally acclaimed North Dakota folksinger Chuck Suchy of Mandan.


Inspired by Swiss tradition

To understand Concept Bloch, it’s necessary to understand the ancient carnival tradition that inspired it. Each winter when the last spruce tree is felled in the Swiss region of Appenzell, the tree trunk known as the “Bloch” is pulled by 20 men from the village of Urnäsch to Herisau and back again. At the end of the one-day procession, the Bloch is auctioned off in the Urnäsch village square.


Normally the winning bidder turns the Bloch into shingles or furniture, but in 2011 artists Gossolt and Hedinger, known as Com&Com, purchased the Bloch and gave it a new role. Instead of traveling between the two Swiss villages, Bloch is traveling the world.


To create an international cultural exchange uniting contemporary art, folk culture and folk art, Com&Com plan to bring Bloch to every continent. In 2012 Bloch started its travels in Switzerland and Germany. In 2013 the artists brought it to China, Taiwan and Singapore. Bloch’s 2014 North American tour is exclusively taking place in North Dakota, with a slight jog across the Red River into Moorhead, Minn. Bloch’s worldwide tour will culminate in a publication, an exhibit, and a 90-minute documentary film by Fabian Kaiser.


Procession to the Geographical Center

In keeping with Bloch tradition, at 5:30 p.m. July 28 the public is invited to join a procession from Prairie Village Museum’s village square to the Geographical Center of North America monument and back again. Local dignitaries will welcome the artists and they will give a brief talk about Concept Bloch. Bloch will be pulled by a team of horses driven by Willow City native Mel Atkinson, Hazen, N.D., who will be celebrating his 80th birthday that day.


Throughout the day Bloch Party attendees are invited to watch the blacksmiths at work and write messages for inclusion in a future Bloch exhibit. From 3 to 5 p.m. Rugby watercolor artist Caroline Doucette will be painting images of leaves to be displayed with the messages from North Dakota. And sometime that afternoon quilter Eldeen Geist of Devils Lake will contribute a piece of her work to the Bloch.


At 4 p.m., Minot accordionists Jerry Schlag, Marla Rose and Karen Stevens will start an informal performance alongside the Bloch. David “White Thunder” Trottier of Rugby, chairman of the North Dakota Council on the Arts, will share his musical talents around 6:30 p.m.

Before Suchy’s performance at 7:15 p.m., Towner wildlife artist Andrew Knudson will ceremoniously shoot arrows into the Bloch. The arrows were made from wood taken from the Bloch by John Martinson of Minot.


Free admission

Admission to the museum will be free throughout the day. Gates open at 8:30 a.m. Friends of Prairie Village Museum will be selling pub burgers, hotdogs, chips, baked beans, pop and water from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 4 to 7 p.m. and chocolate chip cookies and coffee that afternoon.


Bloch’s journey North America is made possible by an exclusive partnership with the North Dakota Council on the Arts; North Dakota state folklorist Troyd Geist; and Barbara Hauser of Zurich, Switzerland. Financial support is being provided by the North Dakota Council on the Arts, Arts Midwest/National Endowment for the Arts, and the Swiss Arts Council.


Support for the Rugby Bloch Party is provided by the North Dakota Council on the Arts, Rugby Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Geographical Center Historical Society. Most of the local artists and musicians are donating their time and talents; Suchy’s performance is courtesy of the North Dakota 125th Anniversary Committee.


A complete Rugby Bloch Party schedule is available on the museum website. For more information on the Bloch project visit

Photo courtesy of Mike McCleary, Bismarck Tribune.

North Dakota folksinger Chuck Suchy will present a free concert at 7:15 p.m., July 28, as part of the Rugby Bloch Party.

Steve Stark will be featured speaker at Geographical Center Historical Society dinner April 14, 2013.

It was a huge undertaking to make a print with the "foot" of the Bloch. The print will be part of an exhibition an the end of Bloch's world tour.

Accordionists Jerry Schlag, Marla Rose and Karen Stevens will perform from 4 until about 5:15 p.m.

Steve Stark will be featured speaker at Geographical Center Historical Society dinner April 14, 2013.

Camp registration opens July 7 for historical society members.



4th annual Museum Camp starts Aug. 4

Rewind in Time Science Adventure promises lots of fun

July 2014

The fourth annual Prairie Village Museum Camp, “Rewind in Time Science Adventure,” runs from Aug. 4 – 8, with a single joint session from 1 to 3 p.m. during the museum’s Village Fair on Aug. 10.


Campers will portray a band of young scientists who travel back in time to study the plants and wildlife of the prairie, to learn about Native Americans and their connection to the land, and to imagine what it might have been like to be part of an 1899 Germans from Russia wagon train.


Two sessions (limit 15 children/session) will run from 9:30 a.m. to noon OR 1 to 3:30 p.m. Registration opens July 7 for Geographical Center Historical Society members and on July 11 to non-members. Registration fee must be paid in order to reserve a spot.


Leading the camp will be Leah Peterson, coordinator of adult and K-12 education programs in science, ecology and environmental stewardship for the Bell Museum of Natural History in Minneapolis. A former French language camp counselor, whale naturalist, sea kayak guide and organic farmer, Leah loves working with kids and discovering wonder in the world through their eyes.


The camp fee is $25 for historical society members and $30 for non-members. Registration deadline is July 31. Camperships are available for those with financial concerns.


Geographical Center Historical Society membership, which includes admission to the Village Fair, is $30 for a household (2 adults and all minor children) or $15 for an individual. Call the museum for more information, 776-6414.


Funding for Museum Camp is provided in part by a grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts, the Pierce County Endowment Foundation, and the Rugby Community Endowment Foundation.

Steve Stark will be featured speaker at Geographical Center Historical Society dinner April 14, 2013.

Rhubarb Festival June 29 in Rugby

Celebrate the tangy taste of all things rhubarb

June 2014

Everything will be coming up rhubarb Sunday, June 29, during the second annual Rhubarb Festival at Prairie Village Museum, Rugby. Friends of the Museum will be serving tastes of rhubarb treats from noon to 3 p.m.


A $5 donation will purchase six tastes of more than 20 rhubarb dishes, with an emphasis on desserts, pies and cakes. Pub burgers, hotdogs and chips will be offered for sale from noon until gone. Coffee comes free with the rhubarb.


The festival will take place, rain or shine, in the museum’s Sandven Exhibition Hall. Rhubarb recipe books will be available for sale. Kids will have a chance to learn how to play marbles. And all 29 of the museum’s buildings will be open for touring until 5 p.m.


Special museum admission rate for the festival is $5; free for kids age 17 and under. Museum admission is free for Geographical Center Historical Society members and active-duty military and their families.

The rhubarb cookbook, edited by Friend of the Museum Janet Miller, includes recipes for all things rhubarb, including historical society vice president Linda Lysne’s recipe for a simple rhubarb sauce.


Rhubarb Sauce

4 cups cut up rhubarb

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

¼ cup minute tapioca


Mix ingredients together in a saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer 8 to 10 minutes. Serve with cream or as is.


For more information on the Rhubarb Festival, call 701-776-6414.

Steve Stark will be featured speaker at Geographical Center Historical Society dinner April 14, 2013.

Terry Jelsing

Steve Stark will be featured speaker at Geographical Center Historical Society dinner April 14, 2013.

Cathy Jelsing, museum director, and Kenny Blessum, village sheriff will be on duty when The Museum Comes Alive on June 1 at the Prairie Village Museum in Rugby.

Steve Stark will be featured speaker at Geographical Center Historical Society dinner April 14, 2013.

Steve Stark's Illustrated History presentations are great for all ages and at 1:15 p.m. April 27 his talk on Teddy Roosevelt is FREE at the Rugby Eagles.

Collage and Mixed Media Art Workshop offered

Jelsing conducting classes at Prairie Village Museum

June 2014

Registration deadline is June 30 for an art workshop being offered 6:30- 9 p.m. July 14-17, 29-30 and at 9 a.m. Aug. 2 at Prairie Village Museum. Taught by Terry Jelsing, “Introduction to Collage and Mixed-Media” is open to beginning and experienced artists, ages 16 and older.


An artist, teacher and freelance designer, Jelsing resides in Rugby. Artists are welcome to develop plans for independent study and self-directed projects. The workshop will culminate in an exhibit during the museum’s Village Fair on Aug. 9 and 10.


The registration fee, which includes some supplies, is $90 for historical society members and $105 for non-members (fee includes season pass to museum). Fees must be paid in advance. A supply list will be provided at the time of registration.


For more information, call or the museum at 776-6414 or Deb Hoffert at 776-6658 or email

Museum Comes Alive June 1

Costumed volunteers bringing museum to life

May 2014

Costumed volunteers will bring Prairie Village Museum to life from noon to 3 p.m., Sunday, June 1, the first event in busy summer at Pierce County’s history museum in Rugby.


“We’ll have people in costume in buildings throughout the village, from the train depot to the church, from the blacksmith shop to the law office,” said Pat Bye, Museum Comes Alive organizer and Friends of the Museum president. “Volunteers are gathering information about the times to share with visitors that day. It’s going to be a fun event for all ages.”


Friends of the Museum will be selling pub burgers, hot dogs, baked beans, chips and pop from noon until gone. Picnic tables will be set up throughout the museum grounds.


Prairie Village Museum is made up of six exhibition halls and 23 historic buildings arranged around a village square. Connected by a wood boardwalk, village buildings are furnished as they might have been at the turn of the century. The museum’s collections range from household items, to Native America artifacts, to antique cars, to a real Great Northern caboose.


For more info, call 776-6414 or email

Sausage, Dumplings, Kraut Dinner kicks off season

Stark presenting Illustrated History of Teddy Roosevelt

April 2014

The Geographical Center Historical Society will kick off its 2014 season with a Sausage, Dumpling and Kraut Dinner and a program on Teddy Roosevelt, Sunday, April 27, at the Rugby Eagles Club.


The freewill community dinner, featuring sausage, dumplings, sauerkraut, carrots, rolls and kuchen, will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Fargo cartoonist/historian Steve Stark will give his Illustrated History presentation on “The Cowboy President” at 1:15. The program is free and open to the public.


Stark, who has performed as Teddy Roosevelt since 1985, will illustrate his tales of T.R. on a 20-foot roll of paper. Known by school children as “Mr. History,” Stark’s appearance at last year’s spring kick-off was so popular, the historical society decided to bring him back.


Event sponsors include the North Dakota Humanities Council, Ramsey National Bank, and the Geographical Center Historical Society, which operates Prairie Village Museum. Historical society vice president Linda Lysne is doing the cooking.


For more info, call 776-6414 or email

Bring your brooms, your rakes, your sense of humor

Fourth annual Cleaning Day is May 4

April 2014

On Sunday, May 4, volunteers will gather from noon to 5 p.m. for the fourth annual Cleaning Day at the Museum.


Workers will help clean the 30 buildings that make up Prairie Village Museum, which opens for school tours on May 1 and to the general public on May 15.


Volunteers are encouraged to bring their favorite cleaning tools, including lawn rakes. Cleaning products will be provided.


“With everyone pitching in, and with lots of good food to keep us going, it’s a fun day,” said museum director Cathy Jelsing.


Service clubs and helpers of all ages are welcome. Museum membership is not required to participate. The event is hosted by the Friends of Prairie Village Museum.


For more info, call 776-6414 or email

Steve Stark will be featured speaker at Geographical Center Historical Society dinner April 14, 2013.

Historical society members and Friends of the Museum Judy Paulsen and Janet Miller plant rhubarb next to the Norway House at the museum.

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