The Verendrye Museum held their Annual Meeting Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at the Moose Lodge in Fort Pierre with Dakotamart catering the event. Award plaques for the 2021 Verendrye Museum History Supporters were presented to Phil Burtch and Sunny Hannum for their outstanding support of the Museum’s mission of supporting and promoting the history of central South Dakota. Board members Dena Gabriel, Darby Nutter and Mike Peterson were elected for 3-year terms through December 2024. 2022 Board of Directors are Deb Schiefelbein, President; Wyatt Johnson, Vice-President; Connie Carlisle, Treasurer; Dena Gabriel, Secretary; Sandy Cronin; Lynn Fravel; Darby Nutter; Mike Peterson; Brian Scott; with Larry Cronin serving as Fort Pierre City Liaison and Dana Iversen as Stanley County Liaison.
The 2021 Activity Report for revealed the following accomplishments:
- From January thru December, approximately 450 guests registered/or were greeted at one or more of our four facilities (Log Cabin Visitor Center Museum, Sansarc Country School Museum, 1905 Stanley County Jail and the FP Depot Museum as the Verendrye Museum was closed for renovation). These guests enjoyed the visits/tours/history research, etc. enhancing their travels and knowledge while in this area.
- The closure of the 3rd summer of the Museum renovation had a direct effect on the operation and the financial status of the Verendrye Museum, Inc. as there was limited tourists, donations, sales, local visitation and activities in central South Dakota.
- The 5th annual Backyard Barbeque Competition brought in a record number of cookers and sponsors with the usual number of diners.
- As of January 15, 2022, there are 25 Lifetime Members (couple/single) of the Verendrye Museum.
- Memberships (Supporting, Lifetime (Couple & Single), Individuals, Family, Business and other donations) from the surrounding communities came in at a steady and routine pace supporting a viable interest in history!
- Marketing/Public Relations: The number of public contacts via email (Contact@VerendryeMuseum.com), the website (VerendryeMuseum.com) and Facebook (VerendryeMuseum) has proven to be an easy access to the public based on the hits and correspondence received. Jon Sailer of Factor 360 continues as Editor of the VM website and Steve Jonas, longtime BBQ Supporter is the Administrator of the VM Facebook. The Museum held exhibits and participated in the Scotty Philip Days August events in Philip, the FP Moose Lodge Vendor Show, and contact with libraries in 95% of the counties in South Dakota where Country School books/note cards were provided which proved to be very successful.
- Larry Cronin appointed by Ft Pierre Mayor Hanson has been a tremendous supporter and assisted the Board in getting a great deal of maintenance work completed at all five historical sites of the VM.
- SD Public Broadcasting featured an interview of the last few cowboys of Diamond A Cattle Ranch in the Dakota Life Fort Pierre series showing.
- the VM signature Backyard BBQ Competition fundraiser cleared a profit and we thank all of the sponsors, individuals, and participants for helping make it successful!
- Donations from visitors and the selling of books, caps, t-shirts, knick-knacks, posters, maps, cookbooks, bricks, Betsey DeLoache 30% donation from sales of books/prints/notecards provided additional financial support.
- Over 3000+ volunteer hours were donated by numerous people contributing to the accomplishments for the year.
Sansarc Country School Museum
- The Stanley County Commission removed the large cottonwood tree as they continue to work on the landscaping around the school with a plan for a drainage trough on the north side of the school which will directly drain into the concrete drainage pathway completed in 2018. Dirt will be placed along the school so the moisture will run away from the school and a new sidewalk will adjoin the sidewalk leading to the back of the log cabin new handicapped ramp. Some of the school’s outside cedar siding has deteriorated beyond repair and a plan is underway to replace it.
1905 Stanley County Jail Museum
- G&N Construction completed the concrete masonry around the outside lower area of the jail which has crumbled off due to heavy snow piles. Replacement of the old cedar shakes on the east and south side of the roof was completed with a complete re-roofing of cedar shakes on the west side of the Jail being planned for 2022. Outside walls were primed and painted, soffits repaired and painted, along with the staining of the cedar board sign hanging on the north side while “Stanley County 1905 Jail” was stenciled in black on the south side of the jail.
Log Cabin Visitor Center Museum
- Stanley County and Larry’s Plumbing were involved in burying the rain gutter and pump sump tubing on the northeast side of the cabin as well as capping and fixing the underground sprinkler system which had been shut off in prior years. They continue to work on the handicapped sidewalk and ramp on the north. We are grateful for the Stanley County’s support!
Train Depot Museum
- Larry’s Plumbing and Quality Construction completed work on the concrete platform, rain gutters, handicapped ramp and moved the pile of bricks that were stacked to help move forward on the completion of the drainage ditch and placement of rocks on the west side of the platform. Board members and their families helped pick up all the bricks and then replaced the top area of the bricks this year. Plans are to replace the bottom area in 2022. Roof repair is needed due to the slate breaking on the roof and discussions continue for work to be completed in 2022 to help with the leakage of moisture and damage to the building.
The City of Ft Pierre supervised Contractor’s in the interior renovation beginning the last week of February 2020 with the balcony/upstairs flooring and the front rooms/entry continued through 2021. Other work continues such as re-installing the telephone line and phone, lower patio fencing, outside gutter/rain spouts/flashing, brick tuck/pointing work, and alley concrete sidewalk completion as well as dirt/concrete piles removal.
The museum closed in September of 2018 with window installation and tuck-pointing starting in November. Final touch up and brick installation work is still underway.
- In May 2021, Snappy Delivery emptied their trailers which were storing Museum items and the freight trailer was also emptied and then sold, therefore, the Museum is not paying or expending money for storage.
- In November of 2020 Board members and volunteers cleaned the balcony and upper-room ceilings, painted them twice, as well as painting and installing all the upper ceiling and baseboard trim which was completed in January 2021 after the flooring was installed. In late December 2020 we began organizing, cleaning, preserving and repairing artifacts/antique items, building display cases, cleaning the patio and museum which continued through December 2021 and into 2022. We also continue to work on administrative documents, inventories, pictures, photographs, books, newspaper articles, etc. and prepare for placement in the Museum.
- In late December, 2021 work on the 70’ long glass display case on north side of museum began.
Historic Trail Sign Project (Roy Norman)
- Research and compilation of the historic signs in Haakon, Melette, Stanley, and Tripp County continued in 2021. There were many requests for information and location of the historic signs and trails in western SD.
In closing, we’d like to thank the community who supported the Verendrye Museum’s efforts in 2021 and we look forward to another busy year in 2022! We would welcome any assistance or donations which are critical in keeping “history alive” in our communities!