The Pioneer Trails Regional Museum celebrates 30 year milestone

A repository of regional and natural history in Bowman invites Western Edge residents to visit the museum in a celebration of three decades of education and research.

The Pioneer Trails Regional Museum is southwest North Dakota's regional repository of natural history, located at 12 1st Ave NE, in Bowman, ND.
Photo courtesy of The Pioneer Trails Regional Museum
We are part of The Trust Project.

BOWMAN, N.D. — As a non-profit organization, the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum relies on donations to keep their doors open and programs running. The museum will be celebrating 30 years of providing southwest North Dakotans with access to historical artifacts and fossils, while educating young and old alike on the preservation of history through publications, curatorship, research and a wide variety of on-site displays.

The celebration in Bowman will begin on June 18, with free admission to the museum all day. Free refreshments and activities will begin at 1 p.m. and run until the event closes at 4 p.m.

As a non-profit organization, the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum relies on donations to keep their doors open and programs running. The Pioneer Trails Regional Museum turns 30 with a celebration in Bowman, including a chalk art contest.
Photo courtesy of Pioneer Trails Regional Museum

“The Bowman County Historical & Genealogical Society was formed in 1983 for the preservation of the rich history in Bowman County and the surrounding area. In June 1992, the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum was opened in the old Bowman Western Lumber Company building. Early exhibits showed quilts, paleontology and ranching,” Darrah Steffen, Paleontology curator at Pioneer Trails Regional Museum, said. “Since the inception of the museum, the paleontology, archeology and local history departments became an active part of the museum’s mission. At PTRM, we continue to catalog, educate and present the history and prehistory of southwestern North Dakota, as well as neighboring South Dakota and Montana.”

Steffen noted that the museum has a rich collection of historic artifacts and fossils that highlight the lesser known prehistory of settlement in the area.

“In our History and Archaeology sections, we offer a background on the history of Native American tribes and the presence of ranching and frontier life in what is now the greater Bowman area,” she said. “In addition, we also offer information on the plants and animals that call this gorgeous landscape home.”


The museum’s Paleontology section features exhibits highlighting the rugged landscapes along the Hell Creek Badlands drainages of southwestern North Dakota, including the fossils found there that have helped researchers and Paleontologists reconstruct and study the waning days of the dinosaurs of the Cretaceous period.

“In addition, fossils we have discovered in the Fort Union Formation help to inform us about the recovery of life after the extinction of the dinosaurs, in what is now southwestern North Dakota,” she said. “We hope (people will) join us to celebrate this milestone on June 18.”

Steffen highlighted some of the activities of the event, including live demonstrations with local artists, a chalk art contest and guided tour of the East Building expansion.

“We have loved serving you for the past 30 years and look forward to seeing what the future holds,” Steffen said.

For more information on how to support the mission, vision and operations of the museum, visit the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum's website at .


What to read next
Follow this Dickinson news and sports podcast brought to you by the DSU Heritage Foundation on Apple, Spotify and Google Podcasts on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
We rode along the fields in Fairfield, speaking to a local rancher/farmer about this year’s planting season and how the heavy rains in the past month have affected crops.
Recently, a handful of Dickinson’s students attended the SkillsUSA — the annual National Leadership and Skills Conference — in Atlanta, Georgia, and some who even finished within the top 10, including power equipment and architectural drafting.
DICKINSON — As Western Edge residents reunite and relax with family and friends, hit the local lakes to cool off, or attend any of the many parades and community events over the 4th of July weekend, a national trend shows that pride in the country is at an 18-year low, according to a recent Gallup poll.