Museum at Black Hills Institute - Atlas Obscura

Museum at Black Hills Institute

Hill City, South Dakota

One of the largest private collections of fossils in the world. 


Visitors flock to the Black Hills of South Dakota every summer to marvel at great sculptures like Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial, or to enjoy the numerous natural wonders around every corner. But take a walk down Main Street in Hill City, a small, artsy community, and you will find one of the most packed collections of dinosaur bones, crystals, meteorites, and fossil memorabilia anywhere.

The Museum at Black Hills Institute is the public-facing portion of the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, a group of enthusiasts who, for over 50 years, have bought, sold, dug, and traded to build their very own museum.

The museum boasts a collection of over 1,500 original fossils, with over 500 rocks, minerals, and meteorites to complement its comprehensive coverage of the earth’s history. Many of these are directly accessible for visitors to interact with. You can touch real dinosaur bones, some fantastic mineral specimens, and some well-loved bronze replicas.

The institute is famous for the discovery of Sue, the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex yet discovered. 

Know Before You Go

Museum at Black Hills Institute is located at 117 Main Street, Hill City SD. Enter through the Everything Prehistoric Gift Shop.

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February 26, 2024

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