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New ‘70s exhibit highlights Cultural Heritage Center Holiday Open House

Visitors can relive the 1970s at this year’s annual Holiday Open House of the South Dakota State Historical Society from 12-4:30 p.m. CST on Friday, Nov. 24, at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.

A new exhibit on display at the free event in the museum’s Hogen Gallery, “The Spirit of the ‘70s,” will showcase the people, fashion, cultural trends, news, politics and issues of the decade. Museum visitors can relive wild and outlandish trends of the era including pet rocks, platform shoes, leisure suits, disco music and dancing, and retro electronics and appliances.

Pivotal events such as the Vietnam War, Kent State shootings, Watergate scandal and resignation of President Richard Nixon are addressed, as well as local headlines including the devastating 1972 Rapid City Flood and the candidacy of George McGovern for United States president in 1972.

An interactive “rec room” installation brings visitors back in time through shag carpet, macramé plant holders and lava lamps, as well as a disco dance floor and the Atari Pong game for visitors to enjoy.

“Our Holiday Open House is always fun for our visitors, but this year’s event, especially, should bring back lots of memories for many people,” said Jay D. Vogt, director of the State Historical Society. “And younger folks can learn what it was like to live in the ‘70s.”

The Holiday Open House also includes entertainment, living-history demonstrations, treats and photos with Santa Claus. In addition to the center’s usual large Christmas tree and other holiday decorations, a tinsel tree with a color wheel will be new this year. Visitors can get a jump on their holiday shopping at the Heritage Store, which features a variety of unique South Dakota-made products and gifts.

Attendees are encouraged to donate canned goods for the local food pantry at the event.

Beginning Saturday, Nov. 25, and running through Saturday, Dec. 23, the museum will be open extended hours, from 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1-4:30 p.m. on Sundays.

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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