The Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society is hosting another Family Fun Saturday Aug. 12 from 10-11:30 a.m. CDT at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.
The activity in August will be making a covered wagon. All supplies are provided and children should be accompanied by an adult. Admission to the museum galleries is also free during that time.
Getting from here to there has often been a challenge in South Dakota. Yesterday’s settlers arrived by trail, steamboat and railroad. Today, state residents travel across the state on interstate highways and fly to all parts of the world. Visitors can make their own model covered wagon to commemorate early transportation in the state.
In the mid-1800s, traders, gold seekers, missionaries and settlers streamed west on overland trails, including trails through Dakota Territory. Wagons hauled both people and freight with horses, mules and oxen pulling the heavy loads. Stages traveled faster than wagon trains, but stagecoach travel was far from comfortable. When the trail was too rugged and the stagecoach became stuck in mud or snow, passengers were expected to get out and push.
“Today we still use many of the same roads that were established along the section lines in the state’s early days,” said Jay Smith, museum director. “Crops are hauled by truck today over gravel roads, but we can still imagine what it must have been like to travel a muddy road with a team and wagon.”
Museum hours through Labor Day are 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1-4:30 p.m. on Sundays. There is a small admission fee for adults but children 17 and younger are always free.
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 www.history.sd.gov for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call 605-394-1936 for more information.