The Journey Museum and Gardens is a museum in Rapid City, South Dakota, USA with 7 acres (28,000 m2) of gardens. It is set up as a journey through the history of the Black Hills, starting with the Native American creation stories, moving into the 2.5 billion years of history in the rock record with the geology exhibit, paleontology, archaeology, Native American inhabitants, and concluding with the pioneers that traveled west.
Geology and paleontology:
The Geology Gallery contains a wall that shows a 2.5 billion year rock record of the Black Hills area. The Museum of Geology at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology provides artifacts and information for patrons to better understand the timeline. Along with the geology section is the paleontology section with fossils, much of which is on loan from the Black Hills Institute of Geological Resarch in Hill City, South Dakota.
After the Geology and Paleontology exhibits is the Archaeology Gallery. This gallery is split into five sections, according to time period. It is divided into five sections listed in the chart below. The Archaeology Gallery contains artifacts and information from The South Dakota Archaeological Research Center.
Sioux Indian Museum:
The Sioux Indian Museum, the next gallery after Archaeology, contains 5,500 pieces regulated by the United States Department of the Interior's Indian Arts and Crafts Board. Most of the collection is from the collection of a Native American arts collector who owned a trading post on the Rosebud Indian Reservation.
The Minnilusa Pioneer Gallery is the final gallery in the timeline layout of the museum. This collection has a trapper's cabin, a board walk, saddles that you can try out, a hardware store modeled after the first major hardware store in South Dakota, and several story boards with information and artifacts about the pioneer days.
It features famous local legends such as Jim Bridger, General Custer, Wild Bill Hickock, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and Red Cloud. It also covers the interaction between Native Americans and early settlers during the period from the first encounters to the modern day reconciliation.
The Adelstein Gallery is a free gallery. Every few months the exhibit in the gallery changes. Sometimes the gallery will contain exhibits put up by outside entities, or contain an exhibit relating to the current time of the year.The exhibit usually relates to the local area. Common exhibit themes have been artwork or cowboy/rodeo items, but it ranges far beyond these. It can also be rented by individuals or groups for private or public events.
The Journey Museum has several side exhibits either inside or between the main galleries.
Grounds and gardens:
- Star Room: A self-guided tour begins with a "Star Room" which represents the time between the forming of the universe and the forming of the rock record in the Black Hills.
- Custer's Black Hills Expedition of 1874: This exhibit is located between the Sioux Indian Museum Gallery and the Pioneer Gallery. Photos and artifacts from the expedition such as a gun, eating utensils, a stirrup, a canteen and stopper, and a knife. This exhibit also features information and artifacts about the expedition's geologist, Newton Winchell, including his journal from the expedition.
- Aviary Room: The aviary room is located off the Hardware Store in the Pioneer gallery. It contains just over 9 dozen stuffed birds and animals from the Black Hills area. These were collected by Henry Behren from 1888 to 1911 within 25 miles (40 km) of Rapid City.
- Flood exhibit: The Flood Exhibit is located at the end of the Pioneer Gallery, just past the storywalls. The flood of June 9, 1972 was a key event in the history of Rapid City and the Black Hills, as it destroyed a large part of Rapid City and either killed, injured, or left homeless thousands of Rapid City residents. Created as a memorial for this event, this exhibit contains maps, pictures, survivor testimonies, news articles, and information about recovery operations for the flood on a touch screen display. It also has a short film that loops regularly that visitors can watch.
- Black Hills Forests Then and Now: This exhibit is located at the end of the Pioneer gallery, right next to the flood exhibit. This exhibit covers the changes that have happened in the forests in the Black Hills over the past 11,000 years. It also talks about how we have used it as a natural resource during the past 500 years when humans occupied the area.
The museum is surrounded by several acres of western native gardens maintained by a variety volunteer gardeners from the area. The gardens are created with the intent to feature indigenous plant life from the local Black Hills area and other plants found natively in the Western Hemisphere.The large garden area is split up into several small gardens wrapping around the museum. Various gardens contain vegetables, flowers, and trees.
The Journey Museum holds several regularly scheduled events. Additionally, they also have many special events that they book through the year, like a sculpting class for children or a presentation on how to make gingerbread houses.
Family Fun Days:
Every third Sunday of the month, the Education Department holds a two hour event from 2-4 pm about a particular topic for children in grades K-5 and their families. This event usually includes a movie about the topic, a presentation, and a craft.
For example, in August 2008 they had the Dog Days of Summer, with a 23 minute film in the theater, a presentation with a search and rescue dog, and a craft making toilet paper roll puppies. Admission is $3 per person. Kids and their parents must each pay admission. The admission allows you to visit the main museum exhbits.
Throughout the year, the Journey Museum Education Department puts on several plays in the Wells Fargo Theater. These are part of the Museum Theater Productions produced by the Journey Museum. Past plays have involved topics such as the Flood of 1972 and Pioneer Women.
As part of the mission to further natural history, several education programs operate through the museum.
Children's Library Lab:
Located in the Archaeology portion of the museum, the Children's Library Lab opened on July 1, 2008. It is a center for classes and various drop-by activities throughout the week. The drop-by activities available include books, puzzles, videos, CDs, puppets, microscopes, and discovery boxes. Discovery boxes are small boxes with activities, information, and objects relating to a certain activity.
The Journey Museum has a few teen and adult classes that they run throughout the year, such as classes on how to use your GPS,training (for volunteers),and Lego Mindstorms NXT robotics classes and seminars.