“And ours is even self-returning,” Johnathan Campbell, said.
Johnathan Campbell can tell you pretty much anything about the Former Governor’s Mansion in the Capital City.
He’s the site supervisor for the historic site, as well as Camp Hancock, but that’s not where he started.
“I actually started out as the fossil preparer here for the North Dakota Geological Survey,” Johnathan shared.
He did this for about 11 years, and decided he needed a change.
Since history was always a big part of his life, he accepted a job as the summer interpreter at Camp Hancock State Historic Site.
“My stepfather was big into history,” Johnathan explained. “So you know, I was absorbing what was going on. So I had an interest in that history and it just kind of it just kind of rolled into this.”
After one summer at Camp Hancock, he was asked to work at the Former Governor’s Mansion as well, and he never looked back.
Johnathan is happy to share all he knows with those touring the mansion, but he has his own favorite parts.
“All the wallpapers,” Johnathan shared. “Over the years there, every governor probably re-wallpapered at some point. And there were more than 20 governors that lived here. They tell a story of change, you know, as style has changed.”
Johnathan also has plenty of responsibilities as site supervisor, but there are some he especially enjoys.
“My favorite part of the job is doing restoration,” Johnathan said. “You know, when there’s restoration works, that’s really my passion. I want to preserve the history, but we have to maintain a balance.”
“We have places where children over the years put graffiti, you know, things like that,” Johnathan explained. “It’s very important, the whole picture saving everything you can, you know, for future generations.”
Despite his work as site supervisor, many may be surprised by Johnathan’s background.
“I am not a historian,” Johnathan clarified. “A lot of people think, just assume that I’m a historian, but I actually have a degree in visual art.”
Something of which he continues to pursue today.
“I am a full member with the Bismarck downtown artists cooperative,” Johnathan shared. “I’ve been twice I’ve been an artist in residence in state parks, you know, so I try to put some effort into that winter, I set it aside for the most part in the summer, but in the winter, you know, I tried to spend time being an artist.”
Johnathan Campbell, a man who loves to bring history to life, is Someone You Should Know.
To learn more about his work at the Former Governor’s Mansion and photography, visit his blog.