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“Spirit of ‘70s” exhibit to open during annual Holiday Open House Nov. 24 at South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center

A new exhibit, “The Spirit of the ‘70s,” will open at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre on Friday, Nov. 24, in conjunction with the annual Holiday Open House of the South Dakota State Historical Society.

The exhibit will make its public debut in the Hogen Gallery of the museum and it will be free to view for all patrons from 12-4:30 p.m. CST on Nov. 24. Regular admission fees will apply after that date. The exhibit will be open until spring 2019.

“We hope to see a lot of people coming out to the Holiday Open House and especially to see the new exhibit debut,” said Jay D. Vogt, director of the State Historical Society. “We’ve even decorated a white tree in the lobby with a color wheel to ensure that we give the ‘groovy’ holiday feel to this year’s open house.”

The new exhibit will feature people, places and events that influenced history, society and popular culture both in South Dakota and around the nation in the 1970s. The exhibit addresses such issues as Wounded Knee II and Watergate, the war in Vietnam and the election of 1972 featuring South Dakotan George McGovern, the Democratic nominee for president.

While the decade was filled with weighty issues and events, it had “less serious” cultural touchstones like mood rings, disco dancing and fashion accessories, like leisure suits and platform shoes.

“Putting together the exhibit about the ‘70s was both fun and a little harder than we expected,” said Jay Smith, museum director. “Finding artifacts was more difficult than we anticipated, as it seems clear that a lot of closets have been cleared since 1980. That being said, some of our staff meetings preparing the exhibit were a lot of fun addressing such items as fondue parties and television of the era.”

The interactive exhibit includes clips from movies, television and early music videos, as well as a home game of Pong from an original Atari system. From reminders of the nationwide bicentennial to events such as the Rapid City Flood, “The Spirit of the ‘70s” exhibit has a little something for everyone.

The museum is open from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. CST Monday through Saturday, and 1-4:30 p.m. on Sundays. From Nov. 25 through Dec. 23, the museum will be open the following holiday hours: Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Sundays from 1-4:30 p.m. Please call the Cultural Heritage Center at 605-773-3798 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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