Five Questions with the Journey Museum
Rapid City, South Dakota
Visitors on the boardwalk in the Minnilusa Pioneer Museum---one of four Journey museum partners---glimpse history with a view of artifacts from the Duhamel Collection. Photo by Paul Horsted
Located at 222 York Street in Rapid City, South Dakota, the Journey Museum brings together several prehistoric and historic collections to tell the story of the Western Great Plains. The museum hosts regular storytelling sessions, and Family Fun Days include activities such as panning for gold. To learn more about The Journey Museum, we spoke with Program and Marketing Director Kristi Thielen.
NEA: Please tell us a little bit about the Journey Museum and what makes it unique.
KRISTI THIELEN: The Journey is a gathering of four museums---the Museum of Geology, the Archaeological Research Center, the Sioux Indian Museum, and the Minnilusa Pioneer Museum---which combine to tell the story of the Black Hills of South Dakota, from its geologic formation millions of years ago to the peoples who have inhabited it through time. The visitor's path through the museum actually replicates a journey through time, something rarely seen elsewhere.
NEA: What's your favorite part of the museum and why?
THIELEN: The Children's Library Lab, just off the Archaeology Gallery. Stocked with books, videos, games, puzzles, puppets, microscopes, posters, cds, and exhibit items, it's a great "hang-out" that even adults enjoy visiting. I love it that the bright colors in the Lab echo those in our dinorama, which you can see reflected in a nearby mirror as you enter the Lab.
Visitors sit at the opening of a Sioux Indian Museum tipi to see the holographic image of Nellie Two Bulls and hear her stories of Lakota life. Photo by Paul Horsted
NEA: What's on exhibit now?
THIELEN: We're got a terrific mammoth on temporary display in our Geol/Paleo gallery. Specimens rotate here, and this current one is dramatic because its curving tusks are visible as you turn the corner in our "abyss," the glowing star room that begins your Journey visit. It is as if the mammoth is beckoning you to enter into the light of the paleo world!
NEA: What do you hope visitors to the Journey Museum will take away from the experience?
THIELEN: That the Black Hills region---situated in the middle of the North American continent and long sacred to the native Lakota peoples---is a living, breathing presence that should be held in awe by peoples everywhere.
NEA: Aside from the Journey Museum, what's your own favorite museum to visit and why?
THIELEN: The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. Because my birth certificate is wrong---I'm really nine years old and always will be!
To learn which other museums are participating in Blue Star Museums, visit the Blue Star Museums page on the NEA website.