Middle Border History Gallery

Come Join Us…Explore, Learn, and Discover

Bufallo Hide Tipi at Dakota Discovery Museum in Mitchell, SD

Buffalo Hide Tipi

The Middle Border History Gallery gives a glimpse into what life on the Dakota prairies was like. The gallery takes you, the visitor, on a journey through time. Discover the life of the Plains Indians, the impact of the fur trade and the Gold Rush, the story of the settlement of the Dakotas, and much more.


Buffalo Hide Tipi

Our brain tanned buffalo hide tipi is one of the most stunning exhibits of the Middle Border History Gallery.

The buffalo mural in this exhibit was painted by Native American artist Don Ruleaux.


Claim Shack

Claim Shack at Dakota Discovery Museum in Mitchell, SD

Claim Shack

The Homestead Act of 1862 provided that anyone who was head of a household, or at least 21 years of age, could lay claim to a 160 acre parcel of land. The homesteader had to meet certain conditions to “prove up” on their claim, such as plowing and planting between 10 and 15 acres and the construction of a dwelling.

A claim shack, usually 12 foot by 14, foot met the requirements and served as the first home for many pioneers. Can you image living in tar papered claim shack on the open prairie?


Sheep Wagon

Old covered wagon - Dakota Discovery Museum in Mitchell, SD

Sheep Herder's Wagon

South Dakota author, Archer Gilfillan, lived in this sheep wagon for almost 18 years, between 1915 and 1933, when he herded sheep in Harding County, South Dakota.

During those years, he wrote several stories and articles, including a book called Sheep: Life on the South Dakota Range.

To purchase your own copy of Sheep: Life on the South Dakota Range, visit our online gift shop.


Local Artist: Mike Sougstad

Gallery exhibits are backed with murals painted by local artist, Mike Sougstad, showing settlement life on the plains.

Mural painted by Mike Sougstad at Dakota Discovery Museum in Mitchell, SD

This mural, painted by Mike Sougstad, captures the personality of the following famous individuals. The two larger images left of center are artists Oscar Howe,(1915-1983) a Dakota Indian of the Yanktonnais tribe, born at Joe Creek on the Crow Creek Reservation of South Dakota, and Charles Hargens, Jr. (1893- 1997) who was born in Hot Springs, South Dakota and grew up in the Black Hills. Other notables shown are Badger Clark,(1883-1957), Poet Laureate of South Dakota and artist Harvey Dunn (1884-1952).


Be sure to visit the museums’ Gift Shop for unique gift items!
In addition to the gift shop within our museum, we also offer an
online gift shop
for your shopping convenience.
The items in our gift shop make excellent gifts, and we can ship anywhere!
Shop online today…