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Grand River Museum
I am writing in hopes of obtaining support for a new museum being formed in
Lemmon, South Dakota. This institution will be a nonprofit organization.
The following is the statement of purpose and goals of the new museum. This
venture has the support of the community, but we need funding to ensure the
long term success and presence of the museum. Any help any of you may be
able to provide would put us a step closer to these goals. If any of you
know of a source of funding those references would also be very
Grand River Museum: A Summary:
I. Purpose of museum
The Grand River Museum is organized exclusively for charitable, scientific
and educational purposes, more specifically to emphasize the
paleontological, geological, and cultural history (especially Native
American) of the Grand River region of South Dakota; to collect, preserve,
display, research, and make available for study, materials relating to the
paleontologic, geologic, and cultural history of the region; to educate and
inform the general public about the region through outreach programs,
public events, and exhibits.
The museum was started by a request from Lisa and Stuart Schmidt, the
ranchers whose property we collect fossils on. They wanted to develop a
museum with topics which are devoted (but not limited) to Native American
culture and paleontology but with a regional emphasis. They wanted the
region's heritage and treasures to be shared by others in a setting
conducive to education, exchange of information, and help others through
possible employment opportunities.
III. Planned Programs
Many of the programs listed below are in various phases of development,
especially those programs devoted to Native American culture.
A. Museum Operation
The Grand River Museum is being planned such that it can stay open all year
round at least six days a week. Hours of operation have not been set but
will reflect tourism and local preferences.
Exhibits will be rotated as much as possible so that new material and ideas
can be displayed. Why should regional residents travel to Rapid City,
Chicago, New York, Washington, or Denver to see and appreciate the
treasures from the Grand River Valley and surrounding region? The Grand
River Museum will devote amble space for exhibits devoted to regional
topics. The exhibits should be of significant interest to local residents,
teachers and school children, as well as tourists.
1. Dinosaur dig: For three years we have collected material on the Schmidt
ranch with up to 40 people from all across the United States participating.
The field season has lasted only two weeks but plans are to expand the
program in terms of time and location. We would like to run day trips for
families with younger members and tourists with limited time.
2. On site training in paleontology and Native American studies.
3. Schools and Teacher programs: School groups and teachers would find the
museum to be a valuable resource for information and the museum could be
used for field trips and classes. In addition we are also planning to have
workshops, summer programs, and lectures to/for school children.
4. Scientific research: We would like to become a regional center of
paleontologic and enthographic studies that draw people to the area. Staff
will work on locally collected material, that reflects the heritage of the
land and its people. Phase 1 will be concentrated on paleontologic aspects
until sufficient funding is in place for other programs. Scientists from
all over the world will be able to examine material in our collections.
5. Cultural exchange
6. Community involvement: We would like to encourage the active
participation of regional residents (both Native and non-Native Americans)
through volunteerism and membership; and eventually establish employment
7. Cooperation with other similar institutions: The Grand River Museum
would like to be complimentary to existing museums within the region. We
would like to develop a cooperation program with the Petrified Forest Park
and a museum currently being built in Timber Lake.
IV. Public Benefits
1. Enhancement of the Lemmon and northwestern South Dakota area.
2. Economic benefits to Lemmon and northwestern South Dakota by visitor
spending: The Grand River Museum will help define Perkins/Corson County
area as a destination tourism location. Based upon a study done by Black
Hills State University for Chamberlain (South Dakota), likely summer time
visitors are primarily families traveling west, with adults ages 35-64, and
fairly well educated and enjoy visiting museums. Based upon people
participating in our dinosaur digs this can convert to real money.
Participants from our digs go to Lemmon for supplies, gas, food, and
Dr. Steven D. Sroka may be contacted at:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Collections Acting Curator
Museum of Natural History Department of Geology
1301 W. Green St.
Urbana, IL 61801
Co-Leader Russ Jacobson may be contacted at:
Vertebrate Paleontologist Fax 217-333-2830
Stratigrapher 217-244-2426 Home Phone: 217-384-6983
222 NRB, 615 E Peabody
Illinois Geological Survey,Champaign, IL 61820
Additionally Mr. Jacobson has a web site centered around the material we
have previously collected that can be seen at
Stuart and LisaSchmidt
Keldron, South Dakota
In case you know anyone willing to make donations an escrow account has
been set up for us to accept donations to the Grand River Museum. Checks
should be made out to: Lemmon Area Charitable Economic Development
Corporation but earmarked for Grand River Museum.
Mail checks to c/o Lynn Waddell, 519 Main Ave., Lemmon, SD 57638-1421
Roger A. Stephenson
(currently) 512 East Drilling / Morrilton, AR 72110
Grand River Museum
Lemmon, South Dakota
Roger A. Stephenson
The Grand River Museum
Lemmon, South Dakota