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Cultural Heritage Center ranked No. 9 by True West magazine

True West magazine has ranked the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre No. 9 on its list of “Top 10 Museums of the West 2017.”

“Home to the South Dakota State Museum and Archives, this center is attractive enough as a location to dig into the history collections of the state, but go there to also learn the stories of the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota people,” the magazine says in its September 2017 edition. “The ‘Proving Up’ exhibit features stories of explorers and settlers, ranging from the placing of the Verendrye Plate in 1743 on a hillside west of the city to the establishment of the state capital.”

Started in 1953, True West is the world’s oldest, continuously-published Western American magazine. The magazine has won multiple awards for its coverage of American Old West history.

“I am elated that our museum has been listed in the top ten history museums in the west by True West magazine,” said Jay D. Vogt, director of the South Dakota State Historical Society, headquartered at the Cultural Heritage Center. “This designation will hopefully bring new attention to the Cultural Heritage Center and the work that the State Historical Society is doing. Our goal is to reach people of all ages, and the museum is a key element in attracting visitors to the Cultural Heritage Center.”

Vogt said the museum tells compelling stories about the people of South Dakota, and is able to help illustrate those stories with some amazing artifacts, such as the Great Sioux Horse Effigy, the Verendrye Plate, the Jefferson Peace Medal, the President Harrison Statehood Pen and the Whitebird Congressional Code Talkers Medal.

“It is a great honor for us, coming from one of the most respected western history magazines in the nation,” said Jay Smith, museum director. “The recognition from True West is a sign that we continue to move in the right direction with the museum, in both our planning and execution, and that people are responding positively to our work. It allows us to reach out to a national audience in ways that are both tangible and in keeping with our mission.”

The Cultural Heritage Center was the only South Dakota museum to make the magazine’s top 10 list, which was topped by the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyo. The Days of ’76 Museum in Deadwood was listed among “12 More Museums to Know.”

The museum in the Cultural Heritage Center is open 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. CDT Monday-Saturday through Labor Day (9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. after Labor Day) and 1-4:30 p.m. on Sundays. There is a small admission fee for adults; children 17 and younger are always free.

Archives hours are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and the first Saturday of most months.

Call 605-773-3458 or visit for more information.

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.

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