Skip to Content

Projects We Support

The South Dakota State Historical Society's Education Kits

The South Dakota State Historical Society offers education kits to South Dakota classrooms and other groups. Each kit contains hands-on objects, relevant lesson text, ready-to-use worksheets, and a variety of fun and unique activities.

One-room schoolhouses once dotted the South Dakota landscape. This kit explores the experience of attending a one-room school, and the important role the school played in the community. Kit users can write with pen and ink, do sums with chalk on a slate, and play recess games. Objects in this kit include a syrup pail lunch bucket, a water dipper, a kerosene lamp, and McGuffey's Readers. Fifteen photos are also included.

Homesteading lets students explore the not so distant past of early Dakota homesteaders. They can play pioneer games, map changes in population, crops, and settlement patterns, and learn about building a sod house. Objects in this kit include a sod sample, butter churn, washboard, and barbed wire samples. Nine photographs show early homesteads and settlers.

Fur Trade: Bridging Two Worlds
This kit uses the fur trade as an example of how two very different cultures established common ground. Students will learn about the environmental, economic, social, and cultural aspects of the fur trade. Objects in this kit include buffalo hide, pelts, beads, quillwork, and trace cloth.

The Buffalo and the Plains Indians
The Buffalo and the Plains Indians teaches students how the buffalo was used by the Plains Indians to meet a wide variety of needs. In this kit, you will find objects made from the buffalo such as a horn spoon, a hair rope and a pair of moccasins.

Cowboys & Ranch Life
Students explore the history and development of cattle and sheep ranching with Cowboys & Ranch Life. The work cowboys do is also covered. Objects in this kit include a branding iron, cowhide, cowboy boots, spurs, a sheep fleece, and hand carders. Nine photographs are also included.

Lewis and Clark in South Dakota
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. Hand-on artifacts include a coyote pelf, prairie dog skull, Jefferson peace medal, and mule deer and antelope hide samples. Activities let students learn about mapping the expedition's rout, identifying animals and their tracks, and learning how the Corps communicated with each other.

Indians and the Environment: Living with the Land
Indians and the Environment: Living with the Land tells how long-ago Indians in different environments used their natural surroundings to survive. Objects in this kit include a Pueblo pot, a rawhide container, and a birch bark basket.

Archaeology in South Dakota
With this kit, students learn what archaeology is and become familiar with the tools and procedures used in archaeological work. They also learn about cultural artifacts and the customs of prehistoric people. Hands-on items include projectile points, a mano and metate (grinding stone), bone tools, trowel, and plumb bob. Activities include classifying sherds, gridding a dig site, and measuring pots.

Mining in South Dakota
Mining in South Dakota covers the history of mining in South Dakota. Participants can pan for gold, map claims, and learn about strip-mining and reclamation through hands-on activities. Objects in the kit include mineral samples, gold pans, drill bits, claim maps, and a balance scale. Twenty-one photographs are also included.

South Dakota Immigrants
With this kit, students explore the history and background of various ethnic groups that made South Dakota their home. Participants can compare Scandinavian, Celtic and Native American music, learn about different ethnic foods, and do the Scottish Keel Row dance. Object in this kit include Ukrainian pysanky eggs, a lefse turner, an Irish tin whistle, a rosemaled bowl, and Chinese guardian lions. Nineteen photographs are also included.

Dakota, Nakota, Lakota Life
This kit examines the history, culture, and traditions of the Dakota, Nakota and Lakota people in South Dakota. Learn about the horse culture where buffalo hunting provided for all needs and the huge shift to reservation life. Users can listen to a story in Lakota, and drum and powwow music. Hands-on kit objects include buffalo hide and bones, bone tools, a hand drum, turkey bone whistle, a star quilt, and quill and beadwork samples.

South Dakota Places
South Dakota Places explores both natural places - the Black Hills, badlands, glacial lakes - and places shaped by people such as Mt. Rushmore, the Corn Palace, and Dinosaur Park. Wildlife habitats and state symbols are also covered. Kit users can plan a SD road trip, match animals to their habitats, and make a flour fish print. Objects in the kit include a walleye fish mold, a Mt. Rushmore model, a mammoth tooth replica and a black-footed ferret figurine.

Rental Information
Education kits are available for two week lean periods. Cost is $35.00 rental fee and includes return shipping.

For information or to book a kit contact:
Ronette Rumpca
Curator of Interpretation
Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society
(605) 773-6011