Big plans in store for the Black Hills Mining Museum

Mining Museum Banner in Lead, SD
Mining Museum Banner in Lead, SD(Aleah Burggraff)
Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 5:35 PM CST
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LEAD, S.D. (KOTA) - It started as an idea when one of the biggest industries in South Dakota was coming to end.

The community could sense it, and they wanted to remember it.

“And they wanted to have a place not just for tourists to come, but also a place that would be able to communicate all the significant mining history that had happened in the past,” said the Facility Coordinator of the Black Hills Mining Museum, Gordon Phillips.

So, the town of Lead got to work.

About 17,000 volunteer hours later, that idea became a full-functioning museum and a tribute to gold mining.

‘Without the mining, there wouldn’t be western South Dakota. That’s why everything is out here. Lead was the second-largest city in the state 100 years ago and the Homestake Mine that dominated in our town really supplied the economic background, not just for our area, but actually for the whole state. So, mining played a very important part in western South Dakota, but also in South Dakota’s history,” said Phillips.

He adds the role of the museum is to tell that history, but it needs an upgrade.

“Our current location is kind of cramped, it’s kind of old. We’ve got a lot of treasures from the community from the mining interest that can’t be displayed because we don’t have space. We have a lot of archiving to do and the museum building itself, we’re not fully able to get it to adapt to meet the needs of what a museum really needs to have,” Phillips explained.

The solution?

“We’re actually building a brand-new facility and moving there,” said Phillips.

It’s all part of the bigger picture as Lead is growing.

Phillips said on top of the downtown area slated for redevelopment, the Sanford Underground Research Lab provides economic stability. Plus a renewed interest in mining has start-up companies coming to the area.

“So, there’s a lot that’s beginning to happen again in our town,” said Phillips.

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