Crazy Horse Memorial

Today we visited the Crazy Horse Memorial in Custer, SD. Both of us were looking forward to seeing the memorial and seeing how much progress has been made on it. We knew we would have to pay an entrance fee, since the entire project is being funded through sales and donations. No government funds have been accepted.

It cost $20 to visit, and this does include one re-admittance to see the laser light show, which we decided not to come back for. The model itself is quite impressive and the size of the memorial is truly huge. The orientation film was good and it included some nice statements by Ruth Ziolkowski, the sculptor’s widow. Korczak Ziolkowski died in 1982 and the memorial is being continued by his family.

The big disappointment for both John and me is that the statement that Korczak wrote to go on the plaque portion of the memorial seems quite accusatory to Americans and the Founding Fathers. I think it would be far more powerful to point to the future of humanity while remembering the past, rather than such harsh statements about something that cannot be changed. After we got back to the hotel, John did a little Internet searching and it seems that the story of Crazy Horse’s death is somewhat suspect. Not that he wasn’t a great chief, but just more reason that this memorial should really point to the future.

We do have the Crazy Horse photos up on the web site. Another disappointment is that $20 does not get you very close to the monument at all. John used the 12X optical zoom feature of the camera to get as close as possible. It is also not possible to view the face straight on, which was a surprise to both of us.

After our excursion to Crazy Horse, we went back to Keystone so we could visit the museum dedicated to Gutzon Borglum, the Mount Rushmore sculptor. The museum charged $8 per person ($7.25 with AAA discount) and included an audio tour, which I really enjoyed. The museum contains a number of Borglum’s other works and models and is worth an hour or so if you have the time and are interested in the man behind the sculpture.

No Prius sightings today, but we were not really out and about enough to see that many cars, so maybe they were sneaking around without our noticing (ha!).

Tomorrow we will drive to Denver, where we will spend the next three days. We plan to make a detour through Nebraska to see Chimney Rock and to be able to say that we set foot in Nebraska. This will be my 45th state to visit and John’s 33rd.

© Karen Bell 2012