Most of you are probably aware of Fargo’s Plains Art Museum (PAM). The museum dates back to 1965 when it opened its doors in Moorhead as the Red River Art Center. The building acquired its present name in 1975, although it didn’t move to Fargo until 1996. After the renovation of a turn-of-the-century warehouse in downtown Fargo, the museum opened to the public in its new location in October of 1997.

For Visitor Services, Human Resources, and Store Manager Tonya Scott, who has worked at the PAM since 2008, her job is all about recognizing and appreciating the beauty and the artistic process.

“What I love most is to be surrounded by creative people, artists, museum members, and guests,” she said. “Downtown Fargo is a wonderful place to be and the Plains Art Museum brings people and art together.”

The PAM is the largest AAM-Accredited art museum in North Dakota.

“Our attendance is almost 50,000 people a year,” Johnson said. “Each year we have about 12 diverse and high-quality exhibitions and offer dozens of educational programs.” The PAM is also the home of the Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Center for Creativity and a modern and unique store.

Even those that are familiar with the PAM may not have spent much time inside the museum’s store, which opened when the museum moved to its current location in Fargo.

“Our mission was to add to our guest museum experience by offering unique artful items in our gift shop,” explained Scott. I know that the term “gift shop” is often associated with overly-priced, low-quality trinkets and other souvenirs, but that is a far cry from anything you will find inside this store.

“The store offers a variety of products to service our unique and creative clientele,” Johnson explained. “The product mix is about 40% local and regional artists and makers and the other 60% are items I source and purchase at the market.” That mix of items includes books, cards, jewelry, artwork, t-shirts, children’s toys, and much more.

Regular museum membership costs between $35 and $100 per year. That membership includes a myriad of privileges and discounts, including:

  • Unlimited free admission to galleries and to the Center for Creativity
  • 20% discount on classes, workshops, camps, and other educational opportunities
  • A one-year subscription to Plains Art Museum NEWS (newsletter)
  • Invitations to programs, exhibitions, and receptions
  • Reduced or free admission to opening receptions
  • Exclusive Center for Creativity Open Studio rates

Best of all, all members receive a 10% discount in the store. The museum also has an annual Holiday Sale when members get 20% off all store purchases from Friday, November 25th through Saturday, December 24th. All proceeds from the store go to benefit PAM programs.

The Plains Art Museum is located at 704 1st Avenue North in Fargo. Hours and costs for one-day admission are below. Additional information can be obtained at


Museum Galleries

Tuesday, Wednesday, & Friday: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Thursday: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm

Saturday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sunday – Monday: Closed

The Store

Monday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Thursday: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm

Sunday: Closed


Members: Free

Adults: $7.50

Seniors: $5

Educators w/ ID: $5

Students w/ ID: Free

Youth: Free


By Jamee Larson