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North Dakota museum gets new director

July 7, 2018

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — For the Ward County Historical Society, sharing not only historical knowledge but physical items from the past is something they pride themselves with when it comes to their Pioneer Village Historical Museum.

The museum has been around since 1951, but the site director, Bryan Goetsch, is a new face surrounded by all the history.

Bryan Goetsch took the large job of site director at the museum in February, but it isn’t the first time he has been involved with it all. While attending Minot State University to obtain a degree in history, Goetsch not only interned at the museum, but he and his family also volunteered. He was also previously a member of the Ward County Historical Society Board.

While Goetsch isn’t originally from Minot, he works hard to learn all he can about it and gladly hears from visitors who may know something he doesn’t. Originating from Muskego in Wisconsin, Goetsch moved to Minot during his time serving in the Air Force after he joined in 2006. After serving eight years, he retired from the Air Force and remained in Minot as a job opportunity in the same area he was working with in the Air Force opened up with contract jobs for civilians.

“It was initially an easier transition from the Air Force to stay here,” Goetsch told the Minot Daily News of why he stayed after retiring. “I just went back to my old job as a civilian and it just kind of got me to stay here.”

He also took this as an opportunity to go to school again. He already had an associate’s degree from the Community College of the Air Force, but he had other goals. Starting in 2014, he graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in history in May. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in library science and media with the goal of becoming a librarian, though until then, he is gladly working away to offer the people and guests of the community a historical place to stop and see all that the museum has to offer in historical buildings and items.

While interning at the Prairie Village Historical Museum, Goetsch began focusing his studying on the Harmon House that currently sits as the main building for guests to enter in and see war paraphernalia and more. He was able to find relatives of the original owners and add more information to the building that can be seen upon entering, in the form of donated photos and plaques. Along with the added historical knowledge to the Harmon House, Goetsch also helped find more for the school house that is located at the museum.

Now as site director, Goetsch has a lot more responsibilities as he manages the 12 historical buildings held on site, manages any events, changing of exhibits, administration work and grant writing, fundraising activities, and much more.

When asked what the museum has to offer, Goetsch said, “We focus on local history, even with the history that had a global outreach such as World War I and World War II, but we focus on locals that had served in those wars. We also tie in prairie life and life over the last 50 years in the Minot area so that people today can see what it all was like.”

The Pioneer Village Historical Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.

“We are open,” Goetsch said. “Please come down here and pay us a visit. Even if you aren’t from North Dakota, there is a very sentimental value to the history that’s down here.”


Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com

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