The Museums of Crazy Horse Memorial® feature exhibits and engaging experiences for visitors of all ages in the discovery of Native history and contemporary life, the art and science of Mountain Carving, and the lives of the Ziolkowski family. The Museums include THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® (including THE NATIVE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL CENTER®), the Mountain Carving Gallery, and the Ziolkowski Family Life Collection. The Museums and Galleries of Crazy Horse Memorial® are excellent resources for students, educators, and visitors, allowing the opportunity to study and learn from the displays and many other cultural resources at Crazy Horse Memorial®.
THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® is home to a large collection of art and artifacts reflecting the diverse histories and cultures of over 300 Native Nations. The Museum, designed to complement the story being told in stone on the Mountain, presents the lives of American Indians and preserves Native Culture for future generations. The Museum collection started with a single display donated in 1965 by Charles Eder, Hunkpapa Lakota, from Montana. Mr. Eder’s impressive collection remains on display to this day. The Indian Museum has about the same annual visitation as the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. Close to 90% of the art and artifacts have been donated by generous individuals, including many Native Americans.
The current facility housing THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® was designed and built by Korczak Ziolkowski and his family in the harsh winter of 1972-73, when no work was possible on the Mountain. The Museum incorporated Korczak’s love of wood and natural lighting, being constructed from ponderosa pine, harvested and milled at Crazy Horse Memorial®. The original wing of the museum was dedicated on May 30, 1973. In the early 1980s, Korczak planned a new wing of the Museum to accommodate the growing collection of artifacts. He did not live to see his plans realized, instead his wife Ruth Ziolkowski and 7 of their children made sure the new wing was built. The structure was built in the winter of 1983-84 and funding came in large part from a $60,000 check left in the Crazy Horse Memorial® contribution box in late August of 1983. The contributor said he was moved by the purpose of Crazy Horse, Korczak, and his family’s great progress and by the sculptor’s reliance on free enterprise and refusal to take federal funds.
The Ziolkowski Family Life Collection is shown throughout the complex and demonstrates to people of all ages the timeless values of making a promise and keeping it, setting a goal and never giving up, working hard to overcome adversity, and devoting one’s life to something much larger than oneself.
The Mountain Carving Gallery shares the amazing history of carving the Mountain. It features the tools Korczak used in the early years of carving, including a ½ size replica of “the bucket”; a wooden basket used with an aerial cable car run by an antique Chevy engine that allowed the sculptor to haul equipment and tools up the Mountain. Displayed in the Mountain Carving Room are the measuring models used to carve the Face of Crazy Horse, plasters of Crazy Horse’s Face and the detailed pictorial progression of carving the Face. You will find details on the next phase in the Memorial’s carving. Current focus is on Crazy Horse’s Left Hand and Arm, the top of Crazy Horse’s Head, his Hairline, and the Horse’s Mane.