DEADWOOD, S.D. – Innocence and Avarice: Coming of Age in a Black Hills Gold Camp, an exhibit featuring Deadwood’s children has opened at the Adams Museum, 54 Sherman Street, Deadwood. The exhibit features historic artifacts and photographs that capture the essence of childhood in early Deadwood and the surrounding Black Hills.
Through the inclusion of artifacts ranging from doll carriages and model stage coaches to an array of child-sized chairs to a set of marbles, this exhibit truly captures a full range of childhood experiences. Accompanying the artifacts are dozens of historic photographs, many displayed at child’s eye-level. These photos tell multiple stories—those of birthday parties, beloved pets and school classes as well as more serious issues, including class-based disparity, poverty and the hardships of life on the American frontier.
The exhibit has opened in conjunction with the museum’s 2007 programming theme: childhood in the Black Hills. In addition to the exhibit, the museum will celebrate children, past and present, through lectures, workshops, exhibits, original research and other public programs focusing on the theme Innocence and Avarice: Coming of Age in a Black Hills Gold Camp. This theme is both far-reaching in its scope and firmly rooted in community memory. In turn, 2007 programming will explore the wide range of childhood experiences in the Gulch, from our raucous beginnings captured in photographs, written text and oral histories, to our rich present shared through the creative, domestic, agricultural and commercial work of our youth. In programs ranging from informative lectures to public forums, we will seek to pose several essential questions regarding childhood in Deadwood. In order to find answers, together as a community, we will explore shared memory, solid fact and speculation.
In these investigations we will cover subjects including work, play, class, race, disease and education. At the heart of these discussions will be the principal dichotomy of innocence and avarice – the presence of seemingly unadulterated children in a lawless, fledgling gold camp. Key to our discussions will be the way in which the lives of these children compare to our own childhoods in Deadwood, to the community we have become and to the future we are creating today.
This exhibit is made possible through the combined support of the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission, Deadwood Gulch Resort & Gaming and Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort.
A photograph of exhibits curator, Darrel Nelson is available upon request.
The Adams Museum, Historic Adams House and Homestake-Adams Research Center identify, preserve, collect, interpret and promote the history and culture of Deadwood and the surrounding Black Hills. www.AdamsMuseumAndHouse.org