Mount Rushmore

On the Other Hand: Governor Noem's RNC Speech

Aug 27, 2020

In The Moment … August 27, 2020 Show 890 Hour 1

Governor Kristi Noem spoke at the Republican National Convention last night, invoking the legacy of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. Here at home, she's calling for the men enshrined on Mount Rushmore to be represented once again, this time in the alcoves of the Capitol dome. Kevin Woster writes about the history of the idea on his blog On the Other Hand. You can find it on our website at

"Look Up To Her" At Mount Rushmore

Aug 25, 2020
Look Up To Her

In The Moment … August 25, 2020 Show 888 Hour 1

Christina Korp is the founder of Purpose Entertainment and is behind a project called Look Up To Her. This project commemorates the 100th anniversary of women being allowed to vote. This project uses projection mapping to place women of the suffrage movement to the sides of Mount Rushmore. Christina is in Washington DC currently with another project called Our Story 100: Portraits of Change.

Travel South Dakota

The Tourism Department said Thursday that the state is enjoying a big payoff from the July 3 fireworks and presidential speech at Mount Rushmore, but the department acknowledged there was a cost to taxpayers. 

In a news release, the department estimated it will spend $1.5 million on the event by the time all of the bills are added up. That includes the fireworks display, transportation, security and other items, the department said. 


In The Moment ... July 7, 2020 Show 853 Hour 2

Protests were held this weekend in the Black Hills where people gathered to speak out against the arrival of President Donald Trump. Protesters pointed to the treaty violations that eventually paved the way for the stone carvings on Mount Rushmore.

SDPB's Chynna Lockett was near Keystone over the weekend. She reports on some of the fallout.

Independence Day Celebration Recap

Jul 6, 2020

In The Moment … July 6, 2020 Show 852 Hour 2

This weekend, fireworks returned to Mount Rushmore for an Independence Day celebration featuring President Donald Trump. The Pennington County Republican Party planned events in Rapid City. Protesters took to the street to speak out against the president and against treaty violations.  South Dakota Public Broadcasting had reporters across the state working to bring you coverage of the event. SDPB's Lee Strubinger was at Mount Rushmore. SDPB's Seth Tupper was in Rapid City. 

SDPB's Lee Strubinger

In the Moment host Lori Walsh unpacks her Fourth of July playlist for a look at how music and patriotism collaborate and collide.

SDPB News: July 4

Jul 4, 2020

Thousands of attendees waited hours for a glimpse of President Trump and to watch the fireworks show at Mount Rushmore.  Hear what happened in this 4th of July special SDPB News Podcast. Find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today.

Seth Tupper / SDPB

America’s divisions were on display Friday night at Main Street Square in Rapid City. 

Several hundred people gathered to watch and applaud a live video of President Trump’s speech from Mount Rushmore. 

Meanwhile, protesters shouted on a street corner nearby. 

On Friday, thousands of attendees waited hours for a glimpse at the sitting president of the United States and the return of fireworks at Mount Rushmore.

The event was billed as a celebration and is one of the largest gatherings of Americans since the coronavirus pandemic reached the country.

Fireworks explode over Mount Rushmore and attendees sit in awe, capturing video of the spectacle as patriotic music blares from an immaculate stage at the base of the national monument.

News: Jun 27 - Jul 3

Jul 3, 2020

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is asking a federal judge to block the federal government from taking over its law enforcement and forcing the removal of public health checkpoints, and Congressman Johnson joins us to explain why he recently introduced legislation to protect Mount Rushmore from alteration. 


National Park Service

People who attend the fireworks show ­­at Mount Rushmore might notice there’s still some construction to do at the memorial, but a park official said that won’t affect the visitor experience. 

For the past year, parts of the visitor area have been blocked off. It’s part of an $8 million improvement project. 

SDPB News: July 2

Jul 2, 2020

Where is the money coming from to fund the fireworks display at Mount Rushmore? This and more in today’s SDPB News Podcast. Find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today. 

National Park Service

The Noem administration said it would raise private money for a Mount Rushmore fireworks display attended by President Trump.  

Instead, taxpayers are footing the bill. And the money’s coming from a fund for research and economic development.  


Environmental Risks Of Fireworks

Jun 30, 2020

In The Moment ... June 30, 2020 Show 849 Hour 2

We're just days out from the 4th of July fireworks display and President Donald Trump's visit to Mount Rushmore. SDPB's Seth Tupper has been covering the environmental and wildfire risks of the fireworks.

Tupper joins In The Moment from the Black Hills Surgical Hospital Studio as we continue to learn about the size of the expanded events this week in the Black Hills.


In The Moment ... June 30, 2020 Show 849 Hour 1

U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson has introduced legislation to protect Mount Rushmore from alteration. The proposal comes just before President Donald Trump comes to the Black Hills for a large fireworks display at the monument - and while some Americans are reconsidering our country's founding and expansion.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is considered a shrine to American democracy, a top vacation destination, and, to some, a desecration of a sacred mountain.

News: Jun 20 - 26

Jun 26, 2020

DACA cannot be dismantled, Dicamba cannot be used. Plus, Trump is headed to Mount Rushmore for the 4th of July fireworks show. 


All this and more in this week’s In the Moment news podcast. 

On The Other Hand: Presidents Visiting South Dakota

Jun 25, 2020

In The Moment … June 25, 2020 Show 846 Hour 1

As South Dakota prepares for fireworks over Mount Rushmore and a presidential visit, SDPB's Kevin Woster looks back at a previous presidential visit and the challenges of traffic and crowds in the Black Hills.  You can find Kevin's work on our website. 

Political Junkies: 4th Of July Fireworks & SF Police

Jun 24, 2020

In The Moment … June 24, 2020 Show 845 Hour 2

South Dakota Tourism

It’s been more than a decade since fireworks exploded over Mount Rushmore National Memorial, but a toxic chemical from those fireworks still pollutes the memorial’s well-water.  

The Environmental Protection Agency announced today it will not regulate that chemical, called “perchlorate,” despite previously saying it would. 

South Dakota Tourism

The state of South Dakota has selected a company to produce the July 3 fireworks show at Mount Rushmore for up to $350,000. 

The company is Pyro Spectaculars. Jim Souza is president and CEO of the company in Rialto, California.  

South Dakota Tourism

The head of the Black Hills National Forest said Wednesday he was frustrated with a lack of communication about a summer fireworks event planned for Mount Rushmore National Memorial. 

The National Park Service oversees Mount Rushmore. But the Forest Service manages most of the land around it. 

Seth Tupper / SDPB

President Trump’s plan to attend a fireworks display July 3 at Mount Rushmore National Memorial has some people worried in the small tourist town at the base of the mountain. 

Lynette Gohsman is the president of the town board of Keystone, population 337. She said past fireworks shows at Mount Rushmore filled her town with visitors. This time, she worries the visitors might bring COVID-19. 

South Dakota Tourism

The National Park Service plans to hold a fireworks show on July 3 at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, despite environmental concerns and fears about the spread of COVID-19.  

Seth Tupper/SDPB

About 50 people showed up at a public meeting Monday on the possible return of fireworks to Mount Rushmore, and many expressed concerns. 

South Dakota Tourism

The publication of a draft environmental assessment and the scheduling of public meetings has brought the National Park Service another step closer to bringing fireworks back to Mount Rushmore this July 3. 

Seth Tupper/SDPB

Environmental concerns kept Fourth of July fireworks away from Mount Rushmore for the past 11 years, but now they’re coming back, because a governor talked to a president. 

President Donald Trump made that clear Jan. 15 while signing a trade deal with China. A crowd of dignitaries was on hand, and Trump took time to recognize some of them. 

South Dakota Department of Tourism

Amid talk about the risk of wildfires and water pollution from bringing a fireworks display back to Mount Rushmore, South Dakota’s top tourism leader is focused on something else: a branding opportunity. 

Obama Bronze Joining Downtown Presidents

Jun 28, 2019

President Obama is coming to Rapid City in July—kind of! A life-sized statue of the former president will join 42 other bronze sculptures of presidents downtown. It’s been almost nine years since a new one was added to the city, and the details of Obama’s likeness are a secret until it’s unveiled soon. 


The statues are part of a project called The City of Presidents. Every former president is represented along two of the city’s main downtown streets. It’s become a tourist attraction in the area. But it all began in 1999 when two people got an idea.

In The Moment ... July 17, 2018 Show 380 Hour 1

Americans create monuments to commemorate, to mourn, and sometimes, simply to draw a crowd.

Watch 10 MONUMENTS THAT CHANGED AMERICA tonight at 7 p.m. CDT / 6 p.m. MDT on SDPB-TV. It is part of 10 THAT CHANGED AMERICA, a series that explores the nation's built environment.

Geoffre Baer, host of Monuments That Changed America and David Wolff, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Black Hills State Univeristy, joined In The Moment with a preview on tonight's show. 

Preserving Mount Rushmore On The End Of A Rope

Sep 14, 2016
National Park Service

This week there are climbers on Mount Rushmore.   A preservation team is updating equipment critical to maintaining the sculpture.

The Mount Rushmore National Memorial Preservation Team is scaling up and down the faces through Friday. Their purpose is to install new systems that measure cracks in the granite. The data gathered from the old machines had to be downloaded physically at the top of the sculpture. The new system gathers and sends data in real time to the Park Service below.