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PastPort: History

Days of ’76 Museum

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The Days of ’76 celebration began in 1924 as a way to honor Deadwood’s first pioneers – the prospectors, miners, muleskinners, and madams who poured into the Black Hills in 1876 to settle the gold-filled gulches of Dakota Territory. Since then, the Days of ’76 has grown into a legendary annual event with a historic parade and an award-winning PRCA rodeo.

The Days of ’76 Museum began, informally, as a repository for the horse-drawn wagons, stagecoaches, carriages, clothing, memorabilia, and archives generated by the celebration. The museum is now a state-of-the-art facility filled with dynamic and thematic exhibitions.

More than 50 historic wagons, carriages, buggies, and other animal-powered vehicles are on display in the exhibit, Deadwood: A Story of Movement and Change. The 7,000-square-foot exhibit tells the story of how this early transportation system helped settle the American West.

Spectacular and colorful panoramic photographs of the local western landscape cover the walls of the gallery. Many vehicles are positioned in front of creative representations of Deadwood’s Main Street, including wooden and brick buildings, a livery stable, a sundries storefront, a fire station, and the porch of an elegant Victorian home. The gallery is full of hands-on components, photo opportunities, and interactive activities that make for a truly memorable experience.

The Firearms Exhibit tells a layered story of guns both in the Black Hills and throughout American history. Nearly 100 long arms and 20 handguns are presented in unique displays, including examples of the firearms that made American gun designers world-famous. The story of each gun is supported by a fascinating background of photographs, diagrams, and illustrations.

Hours of Operation

May – September: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily

October – April:  10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturday
Closed Sunday and Monday and winter holidays

18 Seventy Six Drive, Deadwood, SD
Deadwood, SD 57732

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