Top 10 Exhibits At The Journey Museum

With so much history packed between its walls, it’s easy to overlook some of the most unique artifacts and features at The Journey Museum & Learning Center. Thankfully, with the help of their museum curators, we pulled an expert list of the top ten things you didn’t know they had. 

Journey Museum-Outside-with-cabin

1 - The Great Race

Not only does this museum house a lot of amazing information and history about our area, but the building design itself has special meaning. The building is shaped to resemble the uplift of the Black Hills. Around the building are red rocks to symbolize "The Great Race," a competition between the two-legged (men) and the four-legged (animals) that circled the Black Hills. You'll also see 28 honey locust trees, which were used by Native Americans for food and medicine. The number of trees represents the lunar cycle - a sacred part of Native American culture.

Inside the Star Room at the Journey Museum and Learning Center

2 - Lakota Constellations

The first exhibit you’ll experience at the Journey Museum & Learning Center is the Star Room, which symbolizes the creation of the universe. Inside, you'll find Lakota constellations that mirror the Black Hills. Look closely to see familiar landmarks, like Devil's Tower (Mato Tipila) and Black Elk Peak (Wiciŋcala Sakowin)!


3 - Fool Bull's Shield

Once inside the lobby, you'll notice a large flag with a picture of Fool Bull, a Brulé Lakota medicine man. His actual shield from that picture is from the Battle of Little Bighorn also known as the Battle of Greasy Grass and is on display inside the museum.


4 - Bigfoot

Our state is not immune to the mystery of "Bigfoot!" You can find him lurking in a diorama of "West River/East River" South Dakota.


5 - A Magic Lantern

Before the era of TV and film, people turned to the Magic Lantern for entertainment. Images were projected using candlelight and glass slides. These were used to look at family photos or for performances like magic shows. The Journey Museum has a Magic Lantern in their pioneer section for you to try out!


6 - Rare American Flag

When South Dakota and North Dakota became states in 1889, our country's flag needed 40 stars. Six days later, Montana became a state and rendered this flag obsolete. There are only a few of these flags in existence, and you’ll find one hanging in the pioneer section.


7 - "Winter Counts"

Major tribal events were recorded with pictures on buffalo hides, paper, and other materials. These are known as "winter counts" (wniyetu wowapi). On the "Big Missouri Winter Count," you'll see a blue tipi. This represents when the U.S. government sent the tribes denim for tipi material. The government had outlawed hides for this use and normally sent tribes some canvas.


8 - Human Hair Wreath

Did you know that some people made wreaths out of human hair to remember their loved ones? The wreath found on display in the Journey Museum & Learning Center is from the Civil War era, and it took 27 years to make!


9 - 100 Year Old Taxidermies

You've probably seen animals that have been stuffed, but taxidermists didn't always make accurate representations. This led to some interesting looks. Some of our taxidermies like the bobcat, a wolf and some birds are over 100 years old! 


10 - Buffalo Gun

Ever seen or even heard of a Buffalo Gun before? You’ll find one on display that is from 1874. Back then, there were not many weapons that could take down buffalo. This large-caliber, single-shot black powder cartridge firearm was used to hunt the majestic animal to near-extinction in the late 19th Century.