In Touch with Prairie Living

August 2011

By Michael M. Miller
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo

As I write this August column, I am pleased to announce that the GRHC has received the 2011 Award of Merit and the WOW Award from the American Association of State and Local History. The WOW Award is given to an Award of Merit winner whose nomination is “highly inspirational, exhibits exceptional scholarship and is exceedingly entrepreneurial in terms of funding, partnerships or collaborations, creative problem solving, or unusual project design and inclusiveness.” Only three WOW Awards were given in 2011.

The nomination of the GRHC for these awards was completed by the State Historical Society of North Dakota, which received a 2011 Award of Merit for the Gardening in North Dakota exhibit. Claudia Berg of the SHSND will accept the awards for the GRHC at the American Association of State and Local History national conference in Richmond, Va. in September.

The media release of the SHSND includes: “The GRHC was cited for its exceptional work in preserving and sharing the culture of Germans from Russia on the Northern Plains. Since its inception in 1978, this specialized archive has become one of the most comprehensive collections of German-Russian resources in the world. As a North Dakota and German-Russian ambassador, Michael Miller conducts annual Journey to the Homeland tours to Ukraine and Germany. He started these tours in 1996 and they continue today, keeping Americans and Canadians connected to their German-Russian heritage. In addition, Miller’s Dakota Memories initiative includes the Oral History Project and the Heritage Tour. Through the Oral History Project, comprehensive research collections have been created, with narrators in the Dakotas and Saskatchewan. The Heritage Tour is an outreach and educational program promoting heritage tourism in south central North Dakota.”
I look forward to joining the Dakota Memories Heritage bus tour from September 16-18, 2011. On Saturday evening (September 17) at the Wishek, N.D. Civic Center, Ronald Vossler, Wishek native, will be the speaker. He is well known as an author and script writer for Prairie Public’s award-winning Germans from Russia documentaries. Vossler’s presentation is free and open to the public.

The tour includes visits to the National Buffalo Museum at Jamestown; the NDSU Grasslands Research Center near Streeter; the Logan County Historical Society Museum near Napoleon; the Ludwig & Christina (Schwahn) Welk Homestead, Sts. Peter & Paul’s Church, and the Little German House at Strasburg; St. Mary’s Church & Cemetery at Hague; the McIntosh County Heritage Center at Ashley; St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church near Zeeland and the Lehr Tabernacle.
To register for the tour or for more information, contact Acacia Stuckle at 701-231-6596 or The website is

The September issue of “North Dakota Living” will feature articles about the Germans from Russia, their foodways and St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in McIntosh County.

For more information and to secure the GRHC’s new book, ‘Bessarabia: German Colonists on the Black Sea,’ call 701-231-6596 or The Dakotas have many families with Bessarabian German ancestry.

For further information about the Friends of the GRHC, Dakota Memories Heritage Tour, the 18th Journey to the Homeland Tour to Odessa, Ukraine and Stuttgart, Germany (May 17-27, 2012), and donations to the GRHC (such as family histories), contact Michael M. Miller, The Libraries, NDSU Dept. #2080, PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050 (Telephone: 701-231-8416; Email:; the GRHC website:

August 2011 column for North Dakota and South Dakota newspapers.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller