Deadwood museum has grand opening - KOTA Territory News

Deadwood museum has grand opening


A museum in KOTA Territory had its grand opening this morning and it started off with a little bit of a scare. A horse drawn wagon crashed at the grand opening of the new Days of '76 Museum. The driver and the three passengers were taken to the Lead–Deadwood Regional Hospital but no one was seriously injured. Wagon rides were canceled for the rest of the day. Directors at the museum say it was a freak accident and luckily no one was hurt.  They also say the rest of the day went smoothly and more than 2,000 people enjoyed the exhibits.

From the Wild West, to a Native American galley, and a firearms exhibit, the new Days of '76 Museum has a lot to offer.  

"I think this is a great place to visit whether you're from out of town or you've lived here your whole life," said Jim Speirs, a museum visitor.  

Speirs grew up in Rapid City and Spearfish, but now lives in Sioux Falls. He loves the history of the town.  

"Deadwood has such a rich and storied past and this is another way to learn more about it," said Speirs.

The new building, with a price tag of $5.5 million, features seven exhibits. On Saturday, for the grand opening museum tours were free.  

"So many people over the years have contributed to this wonderful organization and so we thought it would be a great treat for everyone to come out and enjoy the new exhibits," said Mary Kopco, Executive Director at Deadwood History, Inc.

The museum started out mainly as a place to house horse drawn carriages. With new artifacts coming in it soon became clear that a new facility was needed to showcase all the history.

"Our goal is to work with the Chamber of Commerce and the city of Deadwood to make Deadwood a destination, a historic destination," said Kopco.

The new facility was eight years in the making. People involved with the museum say it's important because it reflects the lives of people from Deadwood.  

"It's a local story, it's a story of being here, and coming here. A story about local people's own history, their ancestors," said Darrel Nelson, curator of exhibits.

Whether you're from the area or not, visitors say you can appreciate the Days of '76 Museum and learn something new.  

"It's first class. The exhibits are really well done," said Speirs.

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