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South Dakota State Historical Society Traveling Exhibits

The South Dakota State Historical Society offers traveling exhibitions to communities throughout South Dakota. Each exhibit contains easy-to-install free-standing kiosks, hands on artifacts, and a resource guide.

Drawn to the Land: Homesteading Dakota
From 1860 to 1920, thousands of homesteaders poured into Dakota from across the country and overseas. Many stayed, making a home for themselves and their descendents. Others came for only a short while before selling out and moving on. For many South Dakotans, homesteading is an intimate family memory and stories of "home place" are passed from generation to generation. Drawn to the Land: Homesteading Dakota tells the story of the homesteading experience in Dakota. (Exhibit funding provided by the Cutler Family honoring Judge Alden and Elizabeth Cutler and the South Dakota Future Fund)

Marketing Dakota
For Dakota, political, social and economic growth depended on bringing in people. Railroads built lines into the sparsely settled territory hoping immigrants - and profits - would follow. Town boosters and government officials enticed settlers with promises of good crops and easy weather. Communities, railroads and the government all advertised aggressively and reality seldom got in the way of a good promotional line. The marketing worked, too, and thousands answered the call to "Come to Dakota!" This exhibit looks at the hard sell used to draw settlers to the territory and state. (This exhibition is sponsored by the Larson Family Foundation and the South Dakota Future Fund)

Fall In!: Soldiering in Dakota
As settlers moved in to Dakota, the military protected them, surveyed and mapped t he terrain, and built roads. Soldiers faced bad weather, bad food, danger, and incredible boredom. Too much territory and too few men made soldiering in Dakota a tough go. Fall In! Soldiering in Dakota tells the story of Dakota's early military men through photographs, object images, and text. Viewers can learn about Dakota forts, fort life, and military campaigns. Tools, uniforms, and weapons are also shown. (This exhibition is sponsored by the South Dakota Future Fund and the South Dakota Heritage Fund)

A Capital Fight: Choosing South Dakota's Capital City
Becoming South Dakota's capital city brought money, people and prestige to the winning town. Pierre, Huron, Mitchell, Sioux Falls and Watertown all entered the fray - along with Wolsey and the non-existent town of Harrison! Pierre won all three capital elections. Text and photographs tell the story of the lively multi-year fight and building the magnificent state capitol. (This exhibition is sponsored by the South Dakota Future Fund and the South Dakota Heritage Fund)

At Home & Abroad: South Dakota in World War II
At Home & Abroad documents the state's experiences overseas and on the home front during WWII. The exhibition features photographs and artifacts from the State Archives and the museum collection to tell the story of South Dakotans during the war. (This exhibition is sponsored by the South Dakota Future Fund and the South Dakota Heritage Fund)

Lewis and Clark in South Dakota
In 1803 Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were chosen to explore the Missouri River and its tributaries for a practical water route to the Pacific Ocean. Seventeen full-color panels use quotes from the expedition journals to tell about the people, animals, and natural landscape that Lewis and Clark found in South Dakota. Hands-on artifacts include a coyote pelt, prairie dog skull, Jefferson peace medal, and mule deer and antelope hide samples. (This exhibition is sponsored by the National Park Service/Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, the South Dakota Heritage Fund, and the State of South Dakota)

Life Underground: Hard Rock Mining in the Black Hills
Life Underground: Hard Rock Mining in the Black Hills introduces exhibition, visitors to the world of hard rock mining and to the miners who made South Dakota one of the leading gold producers in the country. Mining represented the dominant economy of the Black Hills of South Dakota for over a century. Life Underground places hard rock mining within a larger historical context. The exhibition details the importance of hard rock mining to the Black Hills and South Dakota, while examining the industry's environmental legacy. (This exhibition is sponsored by the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission, the South Dakota Future Fund, and the South Dakota Heritage Fund)

South Dakota Communicates
South Dakotans know the value of the telephone. Thousands of miles of wire across South Dakota have kept people connected. South Dakota Communicates explores telephone history in the state. Both small independent companies and "Ma Bell" played an important role in keeping the phones ringing. Switchboard operators and party lines are fond memories for many. (This exhibition is sponsored by an anonymous donor)

Properties of History: Exploring South Dakota's Historic Places
Properties of History highlights a small portion of the many historic properties in the state. The exhibit focuses on the importance of preserving our history by holding onto these places. It goes beyond the facade of "old" places and explores the histories they contain. Properties of History raises awareness of the state's heritage and shares the sites, stories, and special places with local citizens and the visiting public. (This exhibition is sponsored by the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office, the South Dakota Heritage Fund, and the South Dakota Future Fund)

Living Traditions: Dakota, Nakota, Lakota Art
The Dakota, Nakota and Lakota people of South Dakota have produced beautiful art throughout their history. Bringing out the beauty in everyday objects led to strong traditions of decorative quillwork, beadwork, painting, and carving. Dance and ceremonies also have an important place in Sioux culture. Living Traditions: Dakota, Nakota, Lakota Art showcases artistic work done in three different time periods - the nomadic hunting period, the reservation period, and modern times. (This exhibition is sponsored by the South Dakota Future Fund and the South Dakota Heritage Fund)

Rental Information
Traveling Exhibits are available for eight-week loan periods. The cost is $150.00 rental fee and covers all shipping and handling costs. Shipping is attend and paid for by the South Dakota State Historical Society. Venues can also choose to pick up and drop off traveling exhibits. venues that choose to transport the exhibit themselves will be charges a $25.00 user fee.

For information on other traveling exhibits visit https://history.sd.gov/museum/travelingexhibits.aspx or contact:
Peter Kleinpass
Curator of Exhibits
Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society
(605) 773-4373
peter.kleinpass@state.sd.us