Tri-State Museum upgrade: Belle Fourche City Council approves $168,080 expansion

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 5:57 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The Tri-State Museum in Belle Fourche is essential to telling tales of South Dakota History.

Recently, they received the go-ahead to expand the building, in order to bring in new places, faces, and exhibits.

It takes a trip down memory lane to see what the future holds for the museum and its upcoming expansion.

The Belle Fourche City Council approved up to $168,080 to Upper Deck Architects of Rapid City to design the 3,500-square-foot expansion of the museum and visitors center. It has been 8 years in the making, and everyone involved with the project is looking forward to what the expansion will bring to the museum and the community.

“Our community is growing; we are aware of this. We are looking at additional housing, there are new jobs and industries coming in. We have more people here, and we have proven ourselves to be a place where fun things happen. Festivals, theatre, family fun days, brunches, events. We’re drawing people from all over the Northern Hills and sometimes even into the Southern Hills. So this is really going to put us on a map that has additional room to additional things for the community at large,” says museum director Kristi Thielen.

The current museum holds 15 permanent exhibits, and with the extra 3500 square feet, they look to add a large center room with a stage, a small classroom, a catering kitchen, and a mechanical storage room. The expansion will extend from the Southern side of the building, into the current parking lot. Making the building larger will allow for new programs and events, as well as allow other organizations to rent the space.

“The problem is when we have larger events here, we have to move most of the museum, and you can’t really move museum exhibits without damaging them. Whether it’s the artifacts within or the case themselves and we just can’t continue to do that when we have large groups of people here for events. We want to be able to treat our museum well and leave it in place and have those events in the addition,” Thienlen continues.

The project looks to break ground sometime next year.