Wednesday, October 6, 2010

South Dakota Kitsch : Wildlife Museum & Gift Shop

In May, I traveled out west for a whole slew of adventures upon graduating from library school. Unfortunately at the time I was only able to cover the traveling aspects of the trip and was limited in time to cover some of the more interesting places that I visited. One such place was the Wildlife Museum & Gift Shop. This little gem is located across and down from the world famous Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota. I visited this place in between my visit from the Badlands to Mankato, Minnesota. While Wall Drug gets all of the attention here, this little joint runs a close second in entertainment in a town with a storefront stretch of about 1/2 mile. 
So you walk into the store past a whole lot of chochkies and leather goods, up the stairs, and all the way to the back and there it is. The Wildlife Museum. At first, it appears to be a storage area for the "gifts" but the sign sets you straight.
Yeah, it sure was incredible.
 
We had this deer mural in our house in the early 1980's giving me an idea about when this exhibit was created. More than the critters appear to be "frozen in time."
This is also a glimpse back at my living room growing up in the 1980's with a mountain man for a father. Combine this view with the deer mural and there you are: 4892 Keck Road c. 1986.
This was the grand finale, located at the end of the meandering "exhibit hall." It was actually quite dramatic, if only I had came here as a child. What a lasting impression.
Then you look below the Polar Bear for a little humorous vintage taxidermy, except fr the baby seal. That is just sad, but again, dating the exhibit to the early 1980's when it was still socially acceptable to clobber seals for their skin.
My brother created these when he was 12 in our basement. Just kidding.
This was overlooked on my way in, but a welcome to find on my way out. Now that is the oddity I was searching for.
These were not a part of the museum but were located next door in yet another gift shop. I would say a wall filled with jackalope is worth documenting.

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