Two Black Hills State University students who are involved in the American Indian Studies program at BHSU and faculty members are assisting with new exhibits at the Days of ’76 Museum in Deadwood.

The museum recently announced that it has received funds from the Stanford Adelstein Family Advised Fund, through Allied Arts Fund of Rapid City, to create three exhibits about the museum’s Save Our History project “The Cowboy Was an Indian: Recovering American Indian History at the Days of ‘76”, funded through a grant from the History Channel. 

D’Arcy Johnson, junior history major from Spearfish, who is serving as a Days of ’76 Museum intern, is assisting with an oral history project conducted in classes at Stevens High School and Red Cloud Indian School. The project began last fall with training by historian Suzanne Julin and Johnson.

Students conducted a series of oral histories and photo documentation of people from their families and in their communities who took part in area rodeo in the past. Particular emphasis was placed on people who participated in the Days of ’76 parade or rodeo over the past decades. Information gathered through this program will be used in exhibits at the Days of ’76 Museum in Deadwood, Stevens High School and Red Cloud Indian School. This project is being supervised by Jace DeCory, instructor of American Indian Studies at BHSU, and Deborah Gangloff from the Days of ’76 Museum.

The exhibits will be developed by museum intern Kelly Dickey, a BHSU junior art major from Pierre, with advisement from BHSU faculty members DeCory and Steve Babbitt, professor of mass communications, and Deborah Gangloff, Days of ’76 Museum. Information gathered through this project will become part of the permanent archives at the Days of ’76 Museum, and will be incorporated into the exhibits in the new Days of ’76 Museum currently in development in Deadwood.

Last fall the History Channel awarded the Days of ’76 Museum in Deadwood with a $10,000 Save Our History grant to partner with local high school and college students. This is the first Save Our History grant awarded to any organization in South Dakota. The Days of ’76 Museum is one of 27 history organizations that received Save Our History community preservation grants in 2006-2007. These will fund innovative, educational projects designed to bring communities together, actively engage students in the preservation of their local history, and communicate the importance of saving local history for future generations.