Tri-State Museum Hires New Archivist

Belle Fourche News
Jada Udager
Jada Udager

BELLE FOURCHE—Jada Udager is the new archivist at the Tri-State Museum, by virtue of her experience in a variety of fields, including retail, management and law enforcement.
Udager, from Pierre was hired after three tries.
“I guess after three times they realized how serious I was about the position and how much I love history,” she said. She has been in the position since December 2019.
She makes sure she cares for the collections and items the museum receives from area families.
“This is a part of their history that they’re sharing with the public. That’s a serious responsibility,” she said.
She really enjoys researching and trying to find out the origins of an item and what it’s use was.
“Take this book,” she began. “It’s a book about the :Presidents of the United States, but ends with Harry Truman. The pictures are actually stamps, and so my research revealed it was a 1946 promotional book from a gas station or the like,” she said.
Another was a letter from a group protesting the Black Hills Roundup Rodeo as barbaric.
“The protest letter was handwritten, so even though the reply from the Roundup was typed, there I was looking through my magnifying glass trying to decipher the handwriting,” she said.
One collection she enjoys chronicles the friendship between Belle Fourche founder Seth Bullock and President Theodore Roosevelt. A photo depicts Bullock and his cowboys who rode in Roosevelt’s 1905 inaugural parade.
“The story goes that Bullock and his cowboys shipped their horses to Washington, DC for the inaugural parade, rode them and then sold them so they wouldn’t have to make the trip back here,” she said.
Udager feels it’s important to preserve the past so future generations can understand what it was like and draw from the experiences of those long gone.
“I would like to involve the community in a time capsule, one that had items from the early days of Belle Fourche up to now, That way, people 20, 50 or even 100 years from now will get an idea of what we had to deal with and what our lives were like,” she said.