Fire Destroys Wounded Knee Museum in Wall, South Dakota
On September 2, 2012, a fire swept through the Wounded Knee Museum in Wall, South Dakota. A South Dakota State fire investigator has determined the source of the fire was electrical.
The Wounded Knee Museum opened in June 2003 and was celebrating its 10th year of operation. Exhibits detailed the events leading up to the December 29, 1890 Wounded Knee massacre of up to 300 Lakota men, women, and children. The museum focused on promoting understanding and sharing the story of what took place at Wounded Knee Creek on Pine Ridge Reservation.
The fire broke out several hours after the museum had closed for the day. There were no injuries, but damages to the building are estimated at 80 percent. Most of the museum exhibits were destroyed by fire and smoke.
The museum revenue did not cover expenses. Museum owner and founder Steve Wyant has operated the museum from the beginning with his own funds, donations, and fundraising efforts.
“Rebuilding will be an extreme challenge,” Wyant admitted. “We are grateful and encouraged by the support we’ve had over the years and are hopeful that we may continue in the future, as the story of Wounded Knee should not be forgotten.” Click here for photos of the fire.