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.

August Family Fun Day is Wave the Flag
Sunday, August 21st @ 2pm

The Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center will hold a Family Fun Day on Sunday, August 21st at 2 p.m. entitled "Wave the Flag."

Families will see a short film about the U.S. flag, and then go to the Center of the Nation Monument for a game to find and identify state flags.

Kids will then get to design their own flag, while learning about the flag elements they choose to incorporate into their flag design.

There will be a drawing for the book "The Fifty Nifty Flags" and a free take-home packet of puzzles, games and info on flags. Refreshments will be served.

Admission is $2 per person or FREE with museum membership. Reservations are helpful; call 605-723-1200. The Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center is located at 415 Fifth Avenue in Belle Fourche.

September First Saturday Brunch
Chris Davis of the Northern Hills Training Center
September 3rd - 10:00am

Chris Davis, the Community Relations Coordinator with the Northern Hills Training Center, will be the presenter at the September 3 First Saturday Brunch at the Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center. The Center was opened in 1976 and provides support to individuals with developmental disabilities.

Brunch will be served at 10 a.m. with the presentation at 10:30 a.m. Brunch is $5 per person or free with museum membership. For further information about First Saturday Brunch and other programs offered by the Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center, please call 605-723-1200. The museum and visitor center is located at 415 5th Avenue in Belle Fourche.

New museum theatre troupe
September 17th - 1:00pm

The Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center will hold a meeting on Saturday, September 17 at 1 p.m. for all those students in the area who would like to learn more about participation in a new theatre troupe, the Tri-State Performers.

The Tri-State Performers will be a museum theatre troupe that performs several productions each year. Performances will take place at the Tri-State complex.

“Museum theatre is a concept that sprang up only in the last decade or so,” says Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center director, Kristi Thielen, who will lead the troupe. “The name is something of a misnomer as it is performed not just in museums, but in science centers, planetariums, aquariums, zoos and botanical gardens around the country.”

Museum theatre consists of productions that take place within a museum and relates to the museum’s collections, or mission or the history, science and culture of the surrounding area. Productions are not reliant upon lavish costumes, props and set pieces and are best performed in intimate settings where actors and audiences are close together.

Some museum theatre productions involve casts as large as 30 and can run to 90 minutes in length. Most include smaller casts and shorter running times. Tri-State Performer productions will initially be modest because of space limitations in the museum and visitor center.

“Until such time as we have an addition to the building, we cannot do any full-scale museum theatre productions,” said Thielen.

Students in grade school through high school are invited to attend the September 17 meeting, and parents are encouraged to come as well. Those who attend will learn more about the museum theatre concept and examine some potential scripts, including “The Perfect Pumpkin,” a small-cast Halloween play by Thielen which is set in Belle Fourche.

A student need not be from Belle Fourche to participate; the troupe is open to any student in the Tri-State area.

Thielen directed 7 years of museum theatre in her previous position with the Journey Museum in Rapid City. She has been a playwright and director since 1981. Her plays have been performed at Black Hills Community Theatre, Storybook Island, Cherry Street Players, Girls Inc., South Canyon School, Dakota Middle School, the West Boulevard Fair and the Heritage Festival. She has had plays published by both Pioneer Drama Services and Brooklyn Publishers; these plays have been performed throughout the United States and also in Canada.

Her play about pioneer women, “Buffalo Gals,” was performed in Spearfish during a recent summer when the Passion Play facility was used as a dinner theatre venue.

For more information about the Tri-State Performers or the September 17 meeting, please call the Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center at 605-723-1200, or check the troupe’s page on Facebook.

New mini-exhibit entitled "Go Fish!"
Opens July 9th!!

The Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center opens a new mini-exhibit entitled "Go Fish!" on Saturday July 9. The exhibit can be found in and around the shelves in the Visitor Center.

"Go Fish!" provides storyboards and photos about fish, fish as symbols and cultural icons, fish of our region, the history of fisheries and the histories of both the DC Booth Fish Hatchery and the McNenny State Fish Hatchery.

The exhibit also includes artifacts from the McNenny State Fish Hatchery, museum volunteer Lu Schuchhardt and the museum's permanent collections. Booklets and fish "trading cards" provided by the SD Game, Fish and Parks; a take-home packet of fish puzzles and games for kids and an over-sized children's information book about fish will also be available to the public.

This exhibit will be in place through Labor Day. Like other exhibits in the museum and visitor center, "Go Fish!" is free to the public.

“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”

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.

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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