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Black Hills Mining Museum Digs Deep, Finds Treasures

Black Hills Mining Museum in Lead

The Black Hills Mining Museum in Lead is expanding it’s current display. Museum officials say visitors can expect to see new items like the Homestake Mine’s employment records from it’s very first day of operation back in the 1870’s.

The gold rush of the late 1800’s brought people from all over the world to the Northern Hills of South Dakota. The Black Hills Mining Museum in Lead has artifacts that date back to the gold rush’s very beginnings.

The exhibits at the mining museum aren’t limited to mining history though – there are displays dedicated to telling the story of the people who worked outside the mine – in area hospitals, the firefighters and the shopkeepers, and the immigrant families that gave the area its rich ethnic mix.

Mining Museum Director Brian Carmichael says changes and updates to the Museum are a sign of the times and he wants to embrace new technologies in preservation and archiving.

“Really the biggest reason I’m making changes is we have a big sub-basement that we have that is filled with material that hasn’t probably been viewed for twenty-five years,” says Carmichael.

Carmicheal says visitors can now see a handwritten copy of George Hearst’s living will and testament - as well as ledgers from the Lead City Bank that date back to 1883.

He says future plans for the Museum include an education center focusing on local and regional geology. But he says that’s not all.

“We’re also updating our video room which will have fifteen to twenty minutes of old pictures and films and videos – just a lot of history about not only Lead but Deadwood and the Black Hills mining industry in general,” says Carmichael.

Director Brian Carmichael says people visit the Mining Museum for different reasons. He says many worked at the Homestake Mine in the past or have relatives that did. Carmichael says the Museum also has exhibits related to modern day gold mining and the current experiments going on at the deep underground science lab.