Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Ty M. Reese


Museum scholars and professionals continue to debate the purpose of museums and their relationships to the public. These contentious debates revolve around the institution’s roles within contemporary societal issues. The purpose of this study is to analyze the expanding roles of county and local museums in North Dakota have in their communities with the goal to understand how these museums can thrive and provide positive outcomes to the communities they serve. This thesis argues that local and county museums must undertake an active role in their local communities to continue to positively preserve and interpret the area’s history. Utilizing interviews with museum directors, volunteers, and community members from multiple North Dakota county and local museums, and museum professional and scholarly works, this thesis provides new sources and ideas to present local and county museum directors with different concepts and opportunities to bring their museum closer and generate excitement to the local communities they serve.