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Beadwork project set for Family Fun Saturday Sept. 8 at Cultural Heritage Center

Families can create their own beaded collar decoration from 10-11:30 a.m. CDT at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre on Sept. 8. Beadwork is this month’s Family Fun Saturday theme.

All supplies are provided, and children should be accompanied by an adult. Admission to the museum is free during the program hours.

Beads and beadwork have a long history with American Indian tribes. There is evidence that prehistoric people used beads as jewelry and as trade items. Wood, bone, shell and other natural materials could all be fashioned into beads.

“The museum gallery is full of beautiful beaded pieces,” said Jay Smith, museum director. “The colors, patterns and variety of beads used in the gallery inspired us to provide this activity, so our visitors can create their own unique beaded item.”

Materials used for the program will include hair pipe beads, pony beads and leather spacers. The items can be put together to create a hair pipe loop necklace. The term “hair pipe” is used for slim, hollow, cylindrical beads that were used to make hair decorations, chokers and breastplates.

Hair pipe breastplates were made by stringing rows of hair pipe beads on cords to form an elaborate breastplate. Patterns were made using colored beads as spacers and other ornaments such as fringes, brass and glass beads, shells and ribbons. Loop necklaces feature multiple strands of beads strung between two leather strips. Using hair pipe beads on a loop necklace creates a unique neck ornament.

The museum is open from 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. CDT Monday through Saturday, and 1-4:30 p.m. on Sundays and most holidays. Call 605-773-3458 for more information about exhibits, special events and upcoming activities.

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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