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New walkway planned for local museum

The Bowman Pioneer Trails Regional Museum’s plans to connect their two buildings through the alley with a new walkway in the future. Frank Turner/Bowman County Pioneer

Whether it was dinosaurs roaming the land or pioneers establishing a new community, Bowman County is home to an exciting history. The hidden treasures that harbor this local history are actually easy to find at the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum in Bowman.

By Frank Turner

Although the museum has many artifacts and historical stories they wish to display, space has become an issue. Many historic pieces are currently in storage, and introducing more displays would simply overcrowd the existing space.

To remedy the situation, the museum has decided to expand their facility. Pioneer Trails Regional Museum Board President Dean Pearson explained that the board is in the beginning stages of connecting the museum’s east storage building to the actual museum with a new walkway through the alley.

“We have lots of items that should be on display, but we just don’t have the space right now,” said Pearson.

Already, the east storage building has been renovated for the eventual installment of new historical displays.

“We just finished inside renovations of the east building,” said Pearson. “It has new air conditioning, heating, and newly sheet rocked walls; it’s ready for brand new displays.”

The museum looks to create new space for its exhibits. Frank Turner/Bowman County Pioneer

The next step toward expanding the museum, he said, is closing off the alley and creating a new walkway to link the two museum buildings.

Right now, plans for the expansion are in their beginning stages and subject to change. Even still, the intent of the walkway is to make the expanded museum more manageable with a similar number of employees. 

Pearson added that the board has tentative plans to rearrange the exhibits in the museum once the expansion is complete, with pre-homestead era exhibits located in the entrance building and everything else in the back.

“If you were going to find information on the railroad, schools, or churches, you would go to the new building,” said the board president. “Whereas if you were looking at early ranches, Indian history, paleontology, or archeology you would look in the current building.”

So far, the city hasn’t weighed in on the building plans just yet; nevertheless, Pearson said that he is sure that, once the logistics and requirements are figured out, the building plans will soon be approved.

“It’s just a matter of making sure to cross the T’s and dot the I’s,” he said.

Because the project is still in the beginning stages, Pearson said he was unsure of when it will be exactly finished. At the latest he guessed that the walkway structure would be erected by the end of next fall.

In addition to building time, Pearson said that the board plans on taking adequate time to make the new historic displays professional.

“There’s no rush for it,” he said. “We don’t just want the historic object, we want the entire story with it.”

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