Skip to Content

Projects We Support

South Dakota Digital Archives

The digitization project started in 2007 with the purchase of equipment and hiring of two staff members. This was initially possible due to the contributions to the Heritage Fund from the Deadwood Historic Preservation Fund, the Black Hills Corporation, and Stan Adelstein to fund the "Black Hills Collection."

The South Dakota State Historical Society has collected photographs since its founding in 1891. These visual images form an essential part of the documentation used by researchers to supplement written records when working on family histories, articles, books, and video documentaries. The state archives maintains collections received by the Society from private donors and state and local governments. The State Archives is the home to an estimated 100,000 images in a variety of formats including negatives, slides, prints, and glass plate negatives.

The digitization project was started in order to make the photographic collections accessible to a wider audience; create catalog records of the individual photos; make digital images available online; contribute to national efforts for digital projects; complement and fill a gap in our digitized online material; decrease the handling of the originals; and incur additional photo donations to the archives.

In December 2008 the Black Hills collection was completed and 7,000 images were made available online at the Heritage West website. Researchers are now able to view these images from the comfort of their own homes. This project promotes part of the archives mission which is to make collections accessible.

The South Dakota Digital Archives, an online resource, was launched in January 2012 by the South Dakota State Historical Society Archives to provide researchers digital access to unique historical records. There are currently over 32,000 images available for viewing. This website features photographs ranging from statewide historic buildings and structures to photographs from the Black Hills collections, including scenery, towns, railroads and people. Also available are government and manuscript materials comprising accessioned collections, publications, brochures, audio and video files, and survey notes. More items are added regularly. Through the Foundation, you can sponsor a photograph collection.