Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron, NE

We pulled out of the Black Hills and pointed ourselves toward Denver. Two years ago, when spending time in Scottsbluff, NE, I had noticed two sites north of there that looked interesting but we just didn't have time to drive up to them. They went on the list for future things to see. This trip they were on our route from the Black Hills to Denver.

The Museum of the Fur Trade is near Chadron, NE at the sight of the Bordeaux trading post which was built in 1837. There is a very authentic, reconstructed trading post outside the museum but that isn't the main reason to stop. The museum opened in 1949 and is operated as a non-profit. It is outstanding! The price of admission is low and worth much more.

Great Lakes exhibit
There is an amazing collection of artifacts that I'm sure the renowned Smithsonian would love to have. The experience begins with a short film about the history of the "world wide" fur trade to get you into the right frame of mind. The exhibit cases are jam packed with amazing artifacts dating as far back as the early 1700s. Each exhibit has an excellent overview narrative as background for the pieces within it and then each piece has a description. Many of the item descriptions are very specific as to exactly who owned it and when, and sometimes have little stories. There was obviously a lot of research and verification done on every piece displayed. This museum may be the best we've ever visited. Yes, it is that good.

Canoe Cups that a voyageur
would clip to his belt. He
could dip into the stream for
a drink during long stints
of paddling.
I took a few pictures but without being able to read the the narratives and item tags they have minimal value but they at least give a little feel for the museum exhibits.

The broken rifle was found in the
Black Hills along with the skeletons
of a man and a bear 

39 ft Birch Bark Canoe like
those used by fur traders

Far left: one of 90 guns
surrendered in 1877 by Sioux
and Cheyenne warriors. Next
one to the right was captured
from the Cheyennes in January
1879. Standing on far right is a
Sharps captured at Wounded
Knee in 1890. The pistol is a
Colt Peacemaker captured at
Wounded Knee by a newspaper
correspondent that was there.

Reconstructed Bordeaux
Trading Post
Trading Post interpretive

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