German-Russian Exhibits at Museum

Johnson, Matthew. "German-Russian Exhibits at Museum." Jamestown Sun, 3 May 1999.

Two German-Russian exhibits rich in history were well received at a grand opening Sunday at the National Buffalo Museum, said Donna Zimmerman, director of the museum.

Zimmerman said about 50 people attended the grand opening, which included experts providing information about the exhibits.

The exhibits are called "The Kempf Family: Germans from Russia Weavers on the Dakota Prairies" and "German-Russian Architecture."

Sponsorship of the grand opening was provided by the James Valley Chapter of the Germans from Russia Heritage Society, Zimmerman said.

Both exhibits provide well-preserved historical photo documentation and will remain on display until Oct. 15.

The Kempf family weaver exhibit is sponsored by the National Buffalo Museum and the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, North Dakota State University Library, Fargo.

In it are preserved photos of Johannes-Georg and Gottliebina Stolz Kempf family and cultural artifacts that have become part of their legacy.

"The exhibit provides a wonderful opportunity for people to learn more about the rich heritage of German-Russian culture especially in central and western North Dakota," Zimmerman said.

Some of the items on display are courtesy of private family collections, said Michael M. Miller, Germans from Russia Bibliographer, who spoke on the exhibits Sunday.

Miller and Jay Gage, curator of the exhibits and textiles, provided historical information about the area's German-Russian culture and resulting artifacts such as hand-woven blankets.

The Kempfs and thousands of others immigrated to central and western North Dakota from former Black Sea and Bessarabian German villages between 1880 and 1920.

They brought with them a legacy that includes such textile treasures as silk-fringed woolen shawls and many other cultural cloths and artifacts.

The German-Russian architecture exhibit is sponsored by the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

The exhibit traces the history of German-Russian homes on the prairie from what the houses were made of to the decorative aspects of these simple, practical dwellings usually made with plaster or clapboards.

The exhibits are located in the south wing of the National Buffalo Museum, which houses a rich array of buffalo, pioneer and Indian artifacts.

For further information about the exhibit, contact Donna Zimmerman, National Buffalo Museum, Jamestown (Tel:701-252-8648) or Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries, Fargo (Tel: 701-231-8461; E-mail:

The museum is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. until Memorial Day weekend. That weekend the museum will switch to its summer hours, which will be from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Admission cost at the museum are $3 for adults, $1 for students ages 7-18, $7 per family and free.

Reprinted with permission of the Jamestown Sun.
"The Kempf Family: Germans from Russia Weavers on the Dakota Prairies", a traveling exhibit of the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, NDSU Library, Fargo. "German Russian Architecture", a traveling exhibit of the State Historical Society of North Dakota, Bismarck.

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