Prairie Public to Premiere "The Women of Alba Bales House"

alba bales house
May 18, 2022

Prairie Public will be airing its new documentary “The Women of Alba Bales House” on May 19 at 9pm. The project was funded by NDSU Libraries, NDSU College of Human Sciences and Education, and the members of Prairie Public. The documentary features interviews with many women who spent time in the house, commentary from NDSU community members, and extensive materials from the NDSU Archives.

Alba Bales was the first female academic dean at North Dakota Agricultural College (NDAC). The house was built in response to the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917, which promoted practical experience for training in home economics. The NDAC Demonstration House—later named the Alba Bales House—was completed in 1923, and was an experimental learning laboratory where students demonstrated their proficiency in all aspects of household management. Home economics students who lived in the Alba Bales House not only contributed to home management, but also to community development, consumer economics, and the empowerment of women. The documentary shares the history of the Alba Bales House and stories of the women who once lived there.

Renewed interest in the history of the Alba Bales House started in 2018 when Beth Twomey, Head, Research and Instruction, led an exhibit at the NDSU Main Library that highlighted the house and its unique past. An online companion exhibit is available on the NDSU Archives website. In 2019, on-site exhibits were held at the Alba Bales House itself during NDSU Homecoming Week, and featured Henry Luke Bolley, a botanist and one of the first faculty members at NDAC, as well as the history of the Alba Bales House.

How to Watch:

  • Tune in on Prairie Public on Thursday, May 19, at 9pm.
  • Stream on-demand on, the PBS Video App, or YouTube after the premiere.