Recently the Moorhead City Council transferred control of the 7,000-square-foot Heritage Hall in the Hjemkomst Center to the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre. That change has already diminished the experience for visitors to the Hjemkomst.
Before the ruling was known, the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County — the organization in charge of exhibits at the Hjemkomst — designed, constructed and initiated installation of a large exhibit entitled "150th Anniversary of Clay County" in the Heritage Hall. When informed of the change, the HCSCC had to move and downsize the exhibit so that it would fit into a smaller space in the basement.
- Clay County historical society making changes at Hjemkomst Center
- FMCT moves productions to Hjemkomst, but vows to return to Fargo
Visitors will never know what could have been had the full display been shown. Some elders will not see it at all because they do not want to go down two flights of stairs or an elevator to see an abbreviated basement exhibit.
The Heritage Hall is the best exhibition space in the Hjemkomst because of its size and location. Smaller exhibit spaces are not comparable to the Heritage Hall. Not even close.
Hjemkomst visitation has increased every year (except during the floods and COVID) since 1985. It is now a destination for visitors from all parts of the U.S. and foreign countries. The F-M area population has greatly increased, and that will likely continue. Thus, Hemkomst visitations will increase, resulting in greater demands on space and staff.
Because HSCSS now has no access to the Heritage Hall (a loss of 7,000 square feet of prime exhibit space), it will be more difficult to respond to increased visitor demands, a step backward indeed.
The Moorhead City Council should reconsider the decision to relinquish the Heritage Hall, making it possible for the Hjemkomst to be the best visitor-friendly place it can and should be.
Gaylord (Guy) Paulson lives in Fargo.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.