A Glimpse into the Past


North Dakota Heritage Center

Adaptation Gallery: Geologic Time



When the State Historical Society of North Dakota embarked on an expansion of its Heritage Center, the project included a complete redesign of the permanent exhibitions that interpret more than 500 million years of North Dakota’s unique history.


The Adaptation Gallery: Geologic Time is an engaging presentation of the landscape, climate, geology and biology of millions of years of the pre-human past of North Dakota – from the gigantic sea creatures living in ancient inland seas to the rise and fall of dinosaurs and the appearance of mammals.


Key messages in the exhibit include: how plants and animals were forced to adapt or become extinct in a changing climate and landscape, the scarcity of the fossil record, and how our knowledge regarding the geologic past is constantly changing and growing as new discoveries are made.


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The professionals at Xibitz were there for us from day one on our large project. When we needed their help to solve difficult design issues they actively worked to come up with solutions that made sense.

—Chris Johnson, Museum Division Director


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[Key Collaborations.

Great Plains Exhibit Development Joint Venture, comprised of Xibitz, Lord Cultural Resources and Taylor Studios, worked in collaboration with stakeholders from the museum, the architect and the public to bring the past alive in this educational and exciting 5,800-square-foot exhibit.]


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X: on this project:

 Lead Firm, Great Plains Exhibit
 Development Joint Venture

 Detail Design

 Production & Installation

 Financial & Contract Management

 Project Management

 Contractor Coordination

 Sub-consultant Coordination

 Facility Interface Coordination

 Construction Drawings

 Lighting Design

 Electrical & Media Integration


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An immersive and awe-inspiring environment transports visitors under the prehistoric seas while using a magnifying glass to see evidence of the plants and animals that once lived in North Dakota.



Among this exhibit’s main attractions are the Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex skeletons, mounted as if they are about to do battle.



Visitors have the opportunity to see the skeletons of ancient sea-dwelling creatures in this depiction of their former habitat.




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