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State Historical Society to Host Live Webcast from National Museum of Natural History on Oct. 8

The Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society will host a special live webcast from the National Museum of Natural History entitled, “Mass Extinction -- Solving the Dinosaur Mystery” at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, Oct. 8, at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.

The free program, in the center’s education room, is a live program, and it is part of the “Smithsonian Science How? 2014” series of 10 programs delivering real-world science to classrooms and educational settings through interactive, live webcasts and supporting educational resources by Smithsonian experts. The webcasts will bring Smithsonian scientists directly to learners of all ages, presenting science concepts and their real-world connections, the discovery of new resources and activities, and the exploration of career pathways.

The program features Dr. Kirk Johnson, a paleobotanist and director of the National Museum of Natural History. Johnson explores the extinction and recovery stories told by fossils found at the Hell Creek Formation in North Dakota, and examines evidence for the causes, the consequences and the aftermath of the mass extinction for life on Earth.

“I have seen several programs by Dr. Johnson, and he is one of my favorite speakers,” said Jay Smith, director of the Museum of the State Historical Society. “He is a fascinating storyteller who delivers inspiring and educational programs that all audiences enjoy. His experience searching for the fossil record of dinosaurs is riveting and I am certain that people will enjoy the program.”

The live program is intended to complement and draw attention to a new exhibit at the museum entitled “South Dakota Environments: A Window to Past Times” now on display in the second-floor Observation Gallery. The exhibit addresses four separate periods in the history of the land now called South Dakota, including the Jurassic period when dinosaurs were present. Hands-on activities and displays allow children and people of all ages to learn more about life during a period when dinosaurs were dominant.

There is no fee to view the program, but standard admission fees apply for visitors wanting to go into the museum galleries.

The South Dakota State Historical Society became a Smithsonian Affiliate in January 2013, and it is the only affiliate in the state of South Dakota. Since 2013, the museum has hosted a “Smithsonian Sunday” program on the second Sunday of each month.

About the South Dakota State Historical Society
The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Tourism. The Department of Tourism is comprised of Tourism, the South Dakota Arts Council and the State Historical Society. The Department is led by Secretary James D. Hagen. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, the archives, and the historic preservation, publishing and administrative/development offices. Call (605) 773-3458 or visit for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call (605) 394-1936 for more information.

About Smithsonian Affiliations
Established in 1996, Smithsonian Affiliations is a national outreach program that develops long-term collaborative partnerships with museums, educational and cultural organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources. The long-term goal of Smithsonian Affiliations is to facilitate a two-way relationship among Affiliate organizations and the Smithsonian Institution to increase discovery and inspire lifelong learning in communities across America. More information about the Smithsonian Affiliations program and Affiliate activity is available at

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