The Adams Museum is located in Deadwood, SD. Visitors to the town of Deadwood will learn the history of the town through the Adams museum at four separate properties located throughout the area. In 1930 W.E. Adams established the Adams Museum in Deadwood. Its purpose was to display and preserve the Black Hills history.
He then gifted the museum to town of Deadwood and it grew into the non-profit institution known as Deadwood History, Inc, that it is today. The museum spans four properties: Adams Museum, Historic Adams House, Days of ’76 Museum, and Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center.
The Days of ’76 celebration was started in 1924 in order to honor the first pioneers of Deadwood. They were the miners, muleskinners, prospectors, and madams who came to the Black Hills in droves in 1876 to settle the Dakota Territory that was filled with gold. The Days of ’76 museum was established to store the stagecoaches, carriages, horse-drawn wagons, clothing, archives and general collectibles that were created by the festivities.
The Historic Adams House was constructed in 1892. It was built in the Queen Anne-style and is renowned for the stained-glass windows, hand-painted canvas wall tapestries, oak interiors and its modern nineteenth century plumbing, telephone service, electricity, and original furniture. The house stayed empty for over fifty years after Adams death in 1934 and was bought by the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission in 1992. It was then restored in 2000 and opened as a house museum.
The Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center houses the country’s biggest collection of archival materials on the Black Hills. It also works to preserve these materials as well as provide access to the public. The materials date from 1870 to modern day and contain photos, personal journals and diaries, maps, legal documents and correspondence, gold production and exploration reports, business records and ledgers, and more.
The four properties that make up the museum contain several exhibits that provide insight into the history of Deadwood and the Black Hills.
The Adams Museum- The Legends Gallery provides visitors the opportunity to learn about Deadwood’s legendary outlaws such as Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickok, Seth Bullock, and Charlie Utter. Visitors will get to examine the artifacts, personal effects, and other collectibles from these figures. The museum digs deep into the history of crime, gambling, and prostitution of the area.
The Days of ’76 Museum- This property covers the transportation system of the Old West and the firearms used in the Black Hills and in American History.
· Deadwood: A Story of Movement and Change- This exhibit takes up seven thousand square feet of space and examines how early systems of transportation helped the Old West to be settled. The walls are covered with panoramic photos of the western landscape and vehicles are placed in front of representations of Deadwood’s Historic main street. The exhibit boasts hands-on displays, opportunities for photos, and other interactive displays.
· The Firearms Exhibit- This exhibit explores the guns used in the Black Hills and all through American History. The display contains about one hundred long arms and twenty handguns. Each display is completed with a background of diagrams, photos, and illustrations.
The Historic Adams House- The Dining Room and Parlor stand as a testament to the customs of the time period with original furnishings.
Past Perfect Online Database- Deadwood History has been working on digitizing their collection for visitors to view anywhere. The online database includes more than one hundred thousand artifacts, photos, and other archival material.
Deadwood History offers opportunities for furthering education.
Collections- The Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center offers finding aids for those involved in research to download and view.
· The Days of ’76 Celebration Records Finding Aid- This finding aid contains organizational and administrative records about the Days of ’76 Celebration dating back to its beginnings in 1924. The collection includes contacts, correspondence, event programs, financial records, photos, videos, and other promotional materials,
· Homestake Mining Company Collection- This collection contains records generated and linked to the Homestake Mining Company. The Company was headquartered in Lead, South Dakota for one hundred and twenty years.
· Yuill/Sundstrom Collection- This collection contains records associated with the Black Hills that were created and used by Camille Yuill and Jesse Sundstrom. Some of these materials include maps, manuscripts, photos, and other archival materials.
Field Trips- Deadwood History provides customized tours for students in grades kindergarten through twelve.
Deadwood History puts on theDays of ’76 event every year. The event commemorates the first pioneers of Deadwood: miners, prospectors, madams, and muleskinners. All headed out to gold-filled Black Hills in the Dakota Territory. The event the includes a PRCA Rodeo and a historic parade.
150 Sherman St, Deadwood, SD 57732, Phone: 605-722-4800
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