From staff reports
This prehistoric Triceratops cast fossil display is a major exhibit at the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum in Bowman.
At the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum (PTRM), in Bowman, displaying and appreciating the local treasures of recent history and deep pre-history is the main mission. Driving the work of the museum are dedicated volunteers and local history enthusiasts who are committed to sustaining the museum, which both informs and educates its visitors and patrons.
Hettinger native Jean Nudell is beginning her third year as PTRM administrator. She completed a master’s degree in library and information science from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
“We collect, preserve and display the history of our area. We consider our regional area to be within 100 miles of Bowman,” Nudell says.
The work of PTRM is directed by the Bowman County Historical and Geneological Society, which was formed in 1983. The museum began operations in its present location in 1992. Nudell says the museum work and exhibits fall into the categories of archaeology, anthropology, paleontology, geneology, botany; and local history.
For example, in the area of archaeology, Nudell says local researchers are working to identify all historic trails that have crossed their area. This encompasses trails of fur trade, the military, settlers’ wagon trails and more. The aim of the working group is to create a display illustrating these trails, and to have it completed by the summer of 2019
“They are all volunteers – people that are really interested in the subject matter. They’ve done the research, and then they tap into landowners that know things, and they use other local resources as well,” Nudell says.
Nudell says a big attraction at the museum is a full, life-size cast of a Triceratops. This prehistoric fossil was unearthed south of Bowman, on the South Dakota side of the two-state border.
Nudell adds that artifacts from pioneer history and military history are also on display. Through windows, visitors can view work being doing in the fossil prep lab.
She says the museum has many Native American artifacts on display. These include painting re-creations, by local artist Cris Fulton, of the 2,000-year-old petroglyphs carved into the faces of nearby Cave Hills. The petroglyphs are Native American illustrations of their hunts and battles.
Nudell says the museum is a genuine point of pride for the community. “I think what makes us special is how much work volunteers and the community have put in to make this as nice as it is,” she says. “We – and our board, in particular – have always made it a priority to do the best we can to keep it looking nice, so that people keep coming back.”
Pioneer Trails Regional Museum
12 First Ave. N.W., Bowman • Phone: 701-523-3600
Summer: May-September: Monday-Saturday
9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Winter: October-April: Monday-Friday
10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: 14 years and older – $5;
ages 7-13 – $3; ages 6 and under – free