The museum started in 1955 when Mrs. Roy Williams of Hammond, MT donated a western collection and $1000 for a museum. Mr. Williams’ collection was for his own enjoyment, and the enjoyment of his friends. Mrs. Williams realized the value of her late husband’s collection, and she contacted several Belle Fourche businessmen and community leaders in the early 1950’s, offering the items.
The current museum building was opened in 2004, in a complex that includes the Center of the Nation Visitor Center. A separate storage facility for museum artifacts was built in 2013. Currently, the Museum and Visitor Center is working with the Tri-State Museum Foundation and the City of Belle Fourche to build an addition which would provide classroom space; a changing gallery to accommodate temporary exhibits, programs and museum theatre; plus a prep kitchen, mechanical room and restroom. The gallery and classroom would be available for rentals.
Belle Fourche, SD 57717