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In Your Own Backyard: Adams House & Museum


Museum and House brings Deadwood History to Life

PIERRE, S.D. – Deadwood has become famous for its rich history and colorful characters.  The Adams Museum & House Inc. is working to preserve this rich history while bringing the past back to life in the Black Hills. 

“The mission of the Adams Museum & House is to identify, preserve, collect, interpret and promote the history and culture of Deadwood and the surrounding Black Hills,” said Mary Kopco, director, Adams Museum & House, Inc.  “We see this as a great benefit to local residents, visitors and researchers interested in Deadwood and the surrounding area.”

Built in 1930 by W.E. Adams, the Adams Museum is considered to be the Black Hills’ oldest history museum.  Artifacts and exhibits on display reflect all aspects of Deadwood’s past.  Included are items owned by legends Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Potato Creek Johnny.  Visitors will also find the mysterious Thoen Stone, a lively folk art collection and fossils from an ancient plesiosaur. 

The Historic Adams House was built in 1892 and was later restored by the Adams Museum and Deadwood Historic Preservations Commission.  The Queen Anne-style home has oak interiors, hand-painted canvas wall coverings, stained glass windows, modern 19th century plumbing and original furnishings.  The house museum was opened to the public in July, 2000. 

“In addition to the great cultural and historical displays, both the Adams Museum and Historic Adams House serve as sites for many public programs including a summer lecture series, workshops, concerts, dramatic living history presentations and much more,” said Kopco.  “Most recent programs have featured workshops on the art of hardanger embroidery, a dramatic presentation on the spirits that haunt the home, special historic garden tours and monthly Preservation Thursday lectures on a host of historic topics.” 

The Adams Museum and Historic Adams House are open year-round and are a great cultural and historical stop when in the Deadwood area.  Visit or call 605-578-1928 for more information.

The In Your Own Backyard series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism designed to highlight unique areas and attractions all across South Dakota.  Click on the special “In Your Own Backyard” link at to access the complete list of articles.

The In Your Own Backyard series is part of Goal 1 of the 2010 Initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota.  The Office of Tourism serves under the direction of Richard Benda, Secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development.