Founding Fathers Black Hills:Independence Hall
9815 S Highway 16
Rapid City, SD
See and hear the 20 minute narrative story of how the United States of America began at the Founding Fathers Black Hills sculpture exhibit at Independence Hall on S. Highway 16.
History meets art in our stunning, life-size sculpture installation of John Trumbull's iconic “Declaration of Independence” painting. Here,inside a likeness of Philadelphia's Independence Hall, you'll hear the amazing story of how those patriots forged the American Revolution and invented a country. And just like those 56 men, you'll have a chance to sign the Declaration of Independence, too.
Long before Thomas Jefferson's face was carved in stone at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, a 33-year-old Jefferson held the Declaration of Independence in his hands and presented it to John Hancock and the rest of the 2nd Continental Congress. By all means, go see the four famous faces just up the road at the Shrine of Democracy. But don't miss Founding Fathers Black Hills at Independence Hall, a premiere Black Hills attraction. Come learn how American democracy was born.
Did You Know?
Benjamin Franklin was the oldest American to sign the Declaration of Independence. How old was he? 70.
Only six of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence also put their signatures on the U.S. Constitution when it was written in 1787. Who were they? Benjamin Franklin; George Clymer, George Read, Roger Sherman, Robert Morris, James Wilson.
Declaration of Independence signer William Whipple decided to free his slave, a man named Prince Whipple, after he signed a document that read: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal….”
Benjamin Franklin is thought to be the first American to invent a musical instrument. The glass harmonica, which was Franklin's version of “musical” water glasses, is said to be the invention that gave him the most personal pleasure.The musical novelty fell out of popularity and use.
Thomas Paine's “Common Sense," gets credit for convincing America early in 1776 to declare independence from Britain, but it was his “American Crisis,” written later that same year, which was instrumental in helping George Washington rally his troops and win the Revolutionary War.
Independence Day is July 4, but that's not the date that John Adams predicted would become our country's national holiday. The 2nd Continental Congress actually voted for independence on July 2. But it took Congress another two days to agree on and adopt a revised, edited version of Jefferson's first draft. That didn't happen until July 4.
History considers Thomas Jefferson the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, but he had a little help from John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman,and Robert Livingston. Which member of the Committee of Five never signed the document? Livingston.
The Declaration was hidden at Fort Knox in Kentucky, along with the original U.S. Constitution, during World War II for safekeeping.
There really is a message on the back of the Declaration but it isn't the secret code suggested in the popular film, “National Treasure.” Rather, the words “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776” appear, probably a label added during storage at some point.
Children age 12 and under are free with a paid adult admission.
Exhibits Open daily:
May 1-26 from 9 am-4 pm
May 27-Sept 30 from 9 am-5 pm
Oct 1-15 from 9 am-4 pm
Musket Range Hours:
Open May 1st – Memorial Day:
Monday through Sunday - 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Open Memorial Day – October 1st:
Monday through Sunday - 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.