Pioneer Trails Regional Museum

The museum is a regional research and repository for history from within 100 miles of Bowman, ND. We have departments active in Archaeological, Genealogical, and Paleontological research as well as collections relating to local history. The museum is one of the major cultural centers in Bowman and the surrounding area. We routinely showcase local artistic talents, traveling displays, and sponsor guest speakers on many topics. Check with the museum administration desk for the current schedule of events.

News & Events

PTRM is Hiring!

Pioneer Trails Regional Museum is looking for a full-time seasonal worker to assist with day-to-day operations of the museum. Position would run May through September. Must be willing to work some Saturdays. Salary dependent on experience and skill set. Applications available at the museum. Completed applications must be received by March 12. For more information contact: Jean Nudell at 523-3600 or

  • Anthropology
  • Archeology
  • Genealogy
  • Astronomy
  • Botany
  • Local History
  • Paleontology


This region of the country has a wealth of fascinating Indian history and culture. Sitting Bull, Four Bears, Running Antelope, George Armstrong Custer, General Crook, Buffalo Bird Woman, Rain-in-the-Face, these are just some of the famous names that played a role in the drama of life here. On display is the beauty, power, and spirit of the legendary tribes of this area. Through historic and contemporary photographs, stone and bone artifacts, rock art images, plant samples, quotations, art prints, text, animal hides and skulls, feathers, and beadwork, their compelling story is told.

The Mandan, Arikara, and Hidatsa were well known for their gardens, in which they grew squash, melon, sunflower, corn, and beans using tools made of stone or bone. Other stone artifacts include projectile points from Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Late Archaic, Middle Woodland, Late Woodland, Plains Village and up to the Historic Period.

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The Archaeology Department is responsible for the collection, interpretation and curation of artifacts and information pertaining to the history of the area. The Archaeology Department continues to develop and maintain both a research document collection and an artifact collection. These are available to the general public and research institutions. Please contact the Archaeology Department for more information

Access to the collections is limited and all interested individuals or institutions are asked to contact the Archaeology Department about your requests, prior to arrival. All requests for access to the research documents and / or collections must be received in writing no later than 30 days prior to arrival. Please submit your request directly to the Archaeology Department briefly stating the intended purpose for the visit, what document or item(s) you wish to view, and your planned arrival date. An Archaeology Department representative will be in contact with you. Requests received by e-mail, fax, or letterhead are all appropriate.

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The Genealogy Department is one of the newer departments and is still being developed. Our collections include a fairly extensive file of births, deaths, and marriages.  We have several cemetery records and numerous reference and local history books. We also have a microfilm/microfiche reader/printer and several rolls of film for research purposes. The films include a large number of the early newspaper files, and there is a paper archive of the first one hundred years of publication by the Bowman County Pioneer.

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Are you interested in the stars? Or do you find yourself looking up at the sky instead of in front of you? Come help us develop this department.

This department needs volunteers and people with an interest in the skys. Please contacts us to express an intrest.

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If you really want to see the prairie, you have to get out of your vehicle and walk upon it. So it is with our native plant gardens, and that is why they are called the Prairie Walk. It is one thing to read about a prairie, it is quite another to walk though one. Our mission with the Prairie Walk is to re-create a small sample of this shared natural heritage.

The Dakota prairies are the stuff of legend. Vast herds of buffalo, earth lodge villages, Sitting Bull and his Lakota warriors, cowboys, homesteaders, sheepherders, and pioneers all contributed to the rich and colorful history of this region. It was the prairie that drew them here, and it was the prairie that sustained them. In the course of settlement, the animals, the people, and the prairies themselves went through many changes. Today the prairie exists only in scattered remnants, and is much different from its original condition.

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Local History


Also on display are military uniforms and memorabilia with local connections from Calvary days, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. Currently there are plans to include the Vietnam War and Desert Storm as the display area is enlarged.

The Bowman County Historical and Genealogical Society published the book, A History of Bowman County 1907-2007, as part of the Bowman County Centennial in 2007.   An authentic sod house was constructed in the spring of 2006, located on the east museum grounds. 

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The demise of the dinosaurs and the changes in local paleoenvironments are just a couple of areas in which the Paleontology Department has been researching over the past decade.  This research is conducted in the rugged landscapes along the Little Missouri Badlands drainages in southwestern North Dakota.

The Badlands in the area represent the last geographical times from the Cretaceous Period, which was home to the dinosaurs, giant marine reptiles and extinct exotic plants.  Research teams associated with the museum have been working in these ancient environments collecting fossil vertebrates, invertebrates and plants to try to reconstruct what was present here million years ago.  As a result of these studies, clues are emerging as to how the plants and animals were interacting, how abundant they were and what the area was like when the meteor impact occurred on the Yucatan Peninsula at Chicxulub wiping out the dinosaurs.

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Winter Hours

10 am - 4 pm
Monday through Friday

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