The Missouri River: Historical Overview Exhibit Featured at NDSU Libraries

April 20, 2002

The Missouri River: Historical Overview Exhibit

The Missouri River: Historical Overview Exhibit

The new traveling exhibit, The Missouri River: A Historical Overview, will be on display at the NDSU Library on first floor, from April 28 to August 4, 2002.

Created as a traveling exhibit by the State Historical Society of North Dakota as a part of the Lewis and Clark bicentennial commemoration, The Missouri River explains the waterway's impact on and importance to North Dakota's history and development. Panels describe and illustrate the history of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara people who lived along the Missouri River and how they utilized it as resource to support their communities. The importance of the river as a major route of transportation for the movement of goods and people and the different methods of navigation are also documented including bullboats used by the native peoples, to the keelboat used by Lewis and Clark, and the many uses of ferries and steamboats.

The Missouri River was known as a wild river often moving its shores and flooding twice a year annually. This constant unpredictability forced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take actions. Revetments were constructed to stabilize the shore lines and eventually dams were constructed to create a stable, constant and predictable flow of water. This controversial project found great deal of support but also left many without homes as they were forced to move due to the rising waters behind Garrison Dam and many others.

Today, many benefit from the waters of the Missouri River. Nine powerplants in North Dakota operate with the use of Missouri River water. Pipelines now transport water to North Dakota communities from the river for use in their municipal water supplies and for expanding industry. The more stable waterways of the Missouri River and the reservoirs have also become an important economic tool with an extensive recreational industry built around it.

Visitors to this exhibit will enjoy maps, drawings, historical and modern photographs as well as reproductions of nineteenth-century painters works by George Catlin, Karl Bodmer, and Phillippe R. de Trobriand.

For more information about the exhibit, The Missouri River: A Historical Overview, contact: Shawn F. Holz, curator of exhibits, SHSND, Bismarck (701-328-2666 or or Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries, Fargo (701-231-8416 or

Photo by Frank B. Fiske. SHSND Fiske 5947 Steamer Rosebud. Photo by Davi F. Barry, ca. 1880. SHSND Col.-22H63

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