We have four important collections:
Wagons & Vehicles. When the Days of '76 event began in 1924, the parade down Deadwood's historic Main Street was a major part of the celebration. As the years passed, an impressive number of wagons, carriages, stagecoaches and other 19th-century vehicles were donated to the event to serve in the parade. Today, they are recognized collectively as an impressive collection of vintage horse-drawn vehicles, the largest and most comprehensive in South Dakota. These vehicles are still used annually in the historic parade, and are kept in safe working order. A few, including an original Deadwood Stage - have been retired from service and are one of the museum's most important historical assets.
Rodeo Collection. Rodeo events in the Days of ’76 Celebration took prominence early on, and today the Days of ’76 Rodeo is the reason for the Days of ’76 Celebration. Using the PRCA award winning Days of ’76 Rodeo as our focus, our museum honors South Dakota’s official state sport and the flagship event of the American West with photos, documents and artifacts and exhibits. Our rodeo is still held the way it always has been – under summer skies in one of the prettiest WPA built arenas in the country. It is no wonder that anyone who is anyone has always wanted to ride in Deadwood. And they still do.
Clothing Collection. Like the Wagons & Vehicles collection, the Centennial Clothing Collection began as part of the original Days of '76 parade. Residents of the Black Hills and high plains gladly donated their old pioneer clothing to the event, and each year parade participants wore them to honor the generations that came before. Replicas instead of historic clothing is now worn in the parade, and the historic clothing has been retired from use. Work on the Centennial Clothing Collection will begin once the Clowser Collection has been processed, and therefore will not be on display when the museum opens. It is our hope that we will be able to share this wonderful collection with our visitors soon.
Clowser Collection. Deadwood resident, historian, poet and businessman Don Clowser, spent his life assembling the remarkable collection of 19th-century pioneer, cowboy, and American Indian art & artifacts you will see throughout the Days of '76 Museum.
Artwork is found throughout the museum, from a spectacular Lakota beaded saddle cover and a painting riddles with bullets that came from behind Poker Alice’s bar to the incomparable rodeo poster art created by Danny Miller and Mick B. Harrison.