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Smithsonian Night program at Cultural Heritage Center to focus on American food traditions

The Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre will host its final monthly Smithsonian Night program on Tuesday, Dec. 15. The featured video program at 7 p.m. CST is entitled, “Stories from the Vault: Let’s Eat.”

Host and actor Tom Cavanaugh explores man's sincerest love of all -- the love of food. First, he tries his hand at cooking American Indian dishes with the former executive chef of Mitsitam Cafe. He then visits the National Museum of American History to learn the origins of the American coffee break. Finally, he stops by the National Museum of Dentistry, a fellow Smithsonian Affiliate, where he learns how the food we adore has a less-than-loving relationship with our teeth.

“The ‘Stories From the Vault’ series is among the most popular of the Smithsonian Channel programs,” said Jay Smith, museum director. “Since the focus of the 2016 South Dakota State Historical Society History Conference is South Dakota’s food heritage, we thought that this would be a great way to end our Smithsonian Night programming.”

The program, originally broadcast by the Smithsonian Channel, lasts approximately 27 minutes. There will be no fee to view the program, but standard admission fees will apply for visitors wanting to go into the museum galleries.

On Smithsonian Night, the museum and Heritage Store at the Cultural Heritage Center will be open from 9 a.m.-8 p.m., giving visitors additional time in the early evening to visit the facility.

“We have some new programming that we will be doing in collaboration with the Smithsonian in 2016 and beyond, and we will announce some of those offerings beginning in January,” said Smith. “In the meantime, be sure to visit our new Sioux Horse Effigy display where a horse memorial from the National Museum of the American Indian is on display. That piece is our first, but certainly not the last, artifact we will borrow through our Affiliate status.”

The South Dakota State Historical Society became a Smithsonian Affiliate in January 2013 and is the only affiliate in South Dakota.

About the South Dakota State Historical Society

The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Education. 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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