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Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society


PIERRE, S.D. – The unique history and spirit of South Dakota is captured and accumulated in this Great Place. Visitors will find a new discovery around every corner. It’s the Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society in the capital city, Pierre.

The museum is a place to learn about American Indian history, explorers, homesteaders, and politicians who established South Dakota. Visitors can get an understanding of the challenges that the people of South Dakota experienced in the 20th century.

Highlights of the museum include the Sioux Horse Effigy Dancing Stick, the Verendrye Plate, and a realistic model cow that visitors can try their hand at hand-milking. There are three permanent galleries displaying artifacts.

The newest exhibit at the museum is titled “Our South Dakota: Big Land, Big Ideas, Big Heart.” It showcases South Dakota in a new perspective. Visitors are able to look at South Dakota’s past and present and even size themselves up to George Washington’s nose from Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

The museum is located at the Cultural Heritage Center, the South Dakota State Historical Society headquarters. The museum shares the 63,000 square foot building with a number of offices within the Society. For a size comparison, that equals the length of two football fields.

The State Archives is also located inside the Cultural Heritage Center. It contains more than 12,000 cubic feet of records. This equates to more than 37,600,000 records, including books, maps, and photographs. With a few exceptions, all of these records are open to the public for research. There is also a gift shop, South Dakota Heritage Store, on site featuring Made in South Dakota products.

The Cultural Heritage Center is open during the winter months, Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., and on Sundays and holidays from 1 - 4:30 p.m. The museum has extended hours during the summer season, Memorial Day through Labor Day, on Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. - 6:30 p.m., and on Sundays and holidays from 1 - 4:30 p.m.