Mitchell, S.D. – South Dakota’s only active archaeological site that is open to the public will officially open its newly remodeled Boehnen Memorial Museum on April 1.
The museum remodeling, which began in the fall of 2014, includes a new and larger audio-visual technology wing, new exhibits, a new and expanded gift shop, new lighting and a newly configured entrance so that visitors feel as though they are entering a 1,000 year-old prehistoric village when they come through the main entrance of the museum. A large teaching garden, which includes a variety of native plants used for food, medicinal and decorative purposes by the native culture, has been added to the exterior grounds of the museum.
“This has been a long, all-encompassing project that we are very proud of,” said Cindy Gregg, the executive director of the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village. “Visitors to the Village’s museum will have an exciting and expanded educational experience.”
The Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village also includes the Thomsen Center Archeodome, which contains the ruins of several earth lodges. Every summer, archaeology and anthropology students from the University of Exeter, England and Augustana University, Sioux Falls, come to excavate the site as part of the Village’s Archaeology Summer Field School program. Visitors can watch the excavation taking place and are welcome in the Archeodome’s laboratory and may help with washing and sorting artifacts.
The Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village, which is a National Trust for Historic Preservation site, was occupied over 1,000 years ago by Native Americans who lived in earthen lodges. The site was a major bison-processing center for the extraction bone grease for the manufacture of pemmican. The occupants of the Village were also skilled farmers, growing crops such as corn, beans, squashes, sunflower, tobacco and amaranth. There are an estimated 70 to 80 lodges buried on the grounds of the site.
An admission fee is charged from April 1st to October 31st to help offset the cost of operating the Village. Adults are just $6, Senior Citizens (60+) are $5, Children (6-18) and Students with valid student I.D.s are $4. Children 5 and under are admitted for free. Bus tours are $75 per bus..
Cynthia Gregg, Executive Director
Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village