The mission of The Standing Rock Museum of Natural History is to educate visitors about the fossil resources of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and the relationship between Native Americans and fossils. The Museum strives to create a unique environment for people of all ages where they can increase their knowledge of paleontology and Native Americans through a dynamic learning experience.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is the first Tribe to establish a paleontology code and a Paleontology department which exhibits the many fossils collected. The Standing Rock Museum of Natural History was created in the old library of Sitting Bull College, and is under the umbrella of the Standing Rock Institute of Natural History. Staff is recruited from local Tribal members and trained for the specific skill set required to make the Institute a success.
Each year the Paleontology Department has a summer field camp where additional seasonal staff are hired and trained to collect fossils. Up to 1,000 fossils can be collected each year. Since 2007, the paleontology department has amassed more than 10,000 fossils that includes several rare ontogenic series, dinosaur skin impressions, an almost complete Edmontosaurus skeleton (missing skull) and most recently, several articulated mosasaur vertebrates were discovered and what appears to be fossilized soft tissue of a Triceratops. With the creation of the Museum, the Tribe can now display these fossils for Tribal members and the public in an engaging, dynamic exhibit space.