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Curator of Modern Military History from Smithsonian to visit Pierre for events remembering Vietnam

Dr. Frank A. Blazich, curator of Modern Military History at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, will be making two free presentations in Pierre as part of events remembering the war in Vietnam.

Blazich will moderate a discussion based on excerpts from the new Ken Burns documentary about Vietnam on Thursday, Aug. 17, at 7 p.m. CDT at the Ramkota Hotel.

On Friday, Aug. 18, at 1 p.m., Blazich will be the featured speaker at an event entitled “Remembering Vietnam” at the Cultural Heritage Center that includes a presentation by the speaker about the experiences of a soldier in Vietnam, followed by a brief discussion of Vietnam era materials in the collections of the State Archives and State Museum from staff members of the South Dakota State Historical Society. Staff members encourage attendees to bring their Vietnam-related items, photos or other materials to the event for advice on how to preserve the item or to make a donation to the archives or museum.

“These are two great events that we invite the general public and all veterans to attend,” said museum director Jay Smith. “We are working with South Dakota Public Broadcasting in regard to the Ken Burns documentary which will debut in September, and we are very thankful to our other great partner, Pierre Post 8 of the American Legion, for contributing to the events which allowed Dr. Blazich to come to Pierre.”

Dr. Blazich is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who earned a Ph.D. in History from Ohio State University, and the former curator of the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum in Port Hueneme, Calif. He is the editor of “Bataan Survivor: A POW’s Account of Japanese Activity in World War II” as well as author of numerous articles and book reviews about modern military history. He is the son of a disabled Vietnam combat veteran and will draw on personal experiences in his presentations.

Vietnam veterans, veterans of other eras and the general public are all invited to both programs. For more information about the upcoming Ken Burns documentary about Vietnam, visit For more information about programs, events and exhibits at the Cultural Heritage Center, please call 605-773-3458 or visit

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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