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Remodeled North Dakota Heritage Center boosting visitation

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- The expansion of North Dakota's state museum is resulting in a boost in visitors.

Two of three new galleries have opened at the Heritage Center on the Capitol grounds in Bismarck. The third gallery is to open on Nov. 2, the 125th anniversary of North Dakota statehood.

The museum was closed in the fall of 2012 for the $52 million, 97,000-square-foot expansion. The first two new galleries opened in late May.

State Historical Society Director Merle Paaverud says visitation in the past four months has surpassed 85,000 people. Before the expansion, the museum drew between 100,000 and 125,000 annually. Paaverud says officials hope to double that this year.