Tri-State Museum, Belle Fourche, SD

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Tri-State Museum, Belle Fourche, SD


For further information about this and upcoming events
at the Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center
please contact Director Kristi Thielen at 605-723-1200.

June Family Fun Day at the Tri-State is “Cars are Cool!”
June 19th    2:00 - 4:00pm

Families who attend will see a short family-friendly power point about the history of cars then do a craft to create a paper antique car or a wooden wheeled car. There will be a drawing for the book “Eyewitness: Car,” and all young people will receive a free take-home packet of puzzles, games and info about cars.

Admission is $2 per person or free with museum membership; in honor of Fathers’ Day, all fathers will get in free.

The topic was selected because this Family Fun Day falls on the weekend of the All Car Rally, held in Herrmann Park. The Friday night reception for the rally will be held at the Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center; families are encouraged to attend the Friday night reception, see the cars at the park on Saturday, then return to the Tri-State on Sunday afternoon for “Cars are Cool!”

“Belly Up to the Bar: Saloons” is the new temporary exhibit

The Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center opened a new temporary exhibit entitled, “Belly Up to the Bar: Saloons” on Saturday, May 28th.  

The exhibit charts the history of saloons, especially in the old west, with photos, storyboards and artifacts drawn both from the museum’s permanent collections and those donated by community member Jerry Ager and Harry Haivala. The exhibit also includes a touch-screen quiz of fun facts about saloons.

Information and anecdotes about saloon music, bar bottles, the questionable liquor served in saloons, their occasional role as the host of theatrical performances, speeches and religious services - and how Prohibition ultimately ended the saloon era - are some of the topics explored in the exhibit.

The exhibit also has a local angle as Belle Fourche is unique for having once had a “Saloon Street.” The history of Belle Street saloons and saloonkeepers such as Bruce Sebastian and Dan Roberts are prominent parts of the exhibit.

“Belly Up to the Bar: Saloons” will be in place until Labor Day.

New mini-exhibit entitled “But first  . . . coffee.”

The exhibit explores the history of coffee including its discovery,  the rise of coffeehouses, the “Coffee Wars” of the 19th and 21st century, the history of Arbuckles’, known as the “coffee that won the west” because of its popularity with cowboys, and coffeehouses in the Belle Fourche area, such as the Green Bean Coffeehouse.

In addition to storyboards, the exhibit includes a wide variety of photos and artifacts from the museum’s permanent collections, including antique coffee pots and coffee grinders.


The title that rides above the exhibit – and the images of the steaming cups of coffee that flank it – were made out of coffee beans.

Specialty coffeehouse coffee will be served to those visitors who stop in to see the exhibit and request a cup to drink as they do so.

The title for the exhibit was selected because coffee is an early morning staple for so many people and because this exhibit is the first thing you see on entering the Museum and Visitor Center.

The exhibit was designed by Assistant Director Jean Maher, who also did photo curation; Collections Archivist Nicole Carrier did artifact curation and coffee bean artwork; storyboards were researched and written by Director Kristi Thielen.

The exhibit will be in place until June 10th. There is no admission to visit the Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center. May hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 to 4. Memorial Day to Labor Day hours are Monday-Saturday, 9 to 5 and Sunday, 1 to 4.

Children’s dress-up trunk for interactive play

The Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center now offers a trunk of period-style clothing for child visitors to try on. The trunk includes prairie dresses, skirts and blouses for girls; vests, shirts and knickers for boys. There are also several hats.  Items in the trunk will be changed every few months to provide variety.

The dress-up trunk is being added as a way to provide more hands-on experiences for young visitors to the Tri-State Museum.

The public is invited to stop in at the museum on Friday to see the display; the museum’s hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center hires new Collections Archivist

PHOTO: New Collections Archivist Nicole Carrier poses next to the doctor’s buggy in the Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center.

The Tri-State Museum and Visitor has expanded its staff to include a Collections Archivist. Nicole Carrier will be tasked with managing the digital archives of the museum’s collections as well as overseeing the contents of the permanent collections and providing artifacts for the mini and temporary exhibits. Carrier will also assist with programming, events and some Visitor Center tasks, including those handled for the Black Hills Roundup.

She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, where she was living prior to Belle Fourche. Carrier moved here three months ago and is enthusiastically learning all she can about her new “home town.”

For further information about the Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center, please call 605-723-1200.



415 5th Avenue
Call for more info 723-1200


The Tri-State Museum is a 4,000 square foot, city-owned and operated, historical museum based out of beautiful Belle Fourche, South Dakota. The museum is located on US-85 in the Northern Black Hills. We are a short drive to major attractions such as Deadwood, Rapid City, Spearfish Canyon, Rocky Point State Park/Orman Dam, Devils Tower, and Mt. Rushmore.

Our museum focuses on the early pioneer, rodeo, and old west history of the Tri-State region of Western South Dakota, Eastern Wyoming and Southeast Montana. The museum houses over 5,000 artifacts, rodeo memorabilia, historical records, antiques, collectibles, fossils, and other items. These include the original 1876 Johnny Spaulding Cabin, artifacts from the early cattle days, artifacts from the Belle Fourche Roundup Rodeo (largest rodeo in South Dakota), and much, much more.

We work closely with the South Dakota State Historical Society, The Adam's Museum and other local organizations such as The Butte County Historical Society, Questers, Lions Club, Golden Hills Antique Club, Northern Hills Retired Teachers, and others.

The museum is very active in the region, helping to promote and host many local activities, educational programs and special events.



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