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The Minnilusa Historical Association and Pioneer Collection is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has been dedicated to preserving the history of the Black Hills since 1935.  First known as the Pennington County Historical Society and then West River Historical Association, the organization was initially set in motion to start a museum in Rapid City. 

For the past 80 years, Minnilusa has run a Pioneer Museum in a number of buildings in the area.  The first was the “Pap” Madison cabin in Halley Park, then the Indian School housed the collection for a short time, and later, the WPA buildings in Halley Park were the long-time home to the Pioneer and Sioux Indian Collections. 

Through community effort over most of a decade and Minnilusa’s support, the current, state of the art, $12 million home of the museum, the Journey Museum & Learning Center, was opened in 1997 to house the collection. 

Through the museum collection, archives, education, programs, research and other efforts, the association works for the advancement of the knowledge and history of pioneer life in the Black Hills. The Association maintains a collection of nearly 20,000 artifacts, rare and out of print texts and letters, a western history library, and a large photograph and image collection. 


Our Mission: To Advance the knowledge of pioneer life by managing and maintaining a pioneer museum as a public service, promoting an awareness of the contributions to this area made by our founders and early settlers, collecting, preserving, interpreting and exhibiting historical items and providing an authentic research center.