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Family Fun Saturday to celebrate 30th birthday of Cultural Heritage Center

Drive up Governors Drive in Pierre and you will see the large granite façade of the Cultural Heritage Center built right into a hillside. Behind the impressive granite front is the South Dakota State Historical Society. 

Visitors to the center on Family Fun Saturday, May 11, can mark the occasion of the building’s 30th birthday by creating a pop-up card featuring the center’s façade. The program runs from 10-11:30 a.m. CDT, and all supplies are provided. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Admission to the museum gallery is free during the event hours.

Built into a bluff overlooking the Missouri River, the Cultural Heritage Center’s design calls to mind an Arikara-style earth lodge. The building covers 63,000 square feet and is as long as two football fields end-to-end. Its underground construction provides good humidity and temperature control for storing museum artifacts and archival materials such as documents, maps and photos. The facade is made of Carnelian granite quarried near Milbank, S.D.

The Cultural Heritage Center is the headquarters for the South Dakota State Historical Society and houses four of the society’s five offices – archives, historic preservation, research & publications and the museum. The fifth office, archaeological research, is in Rapid City. Offices for the society’s administration and the Historical Society Foundation – the society’s nonprofit fund-raising partner -- are also located in the center.

“The Cultural Heritage Center has been a wonderful home for the museum, archives and other programs of the South Dakota State Historical Society for 30 years,” said Jay Smith, museum director. “The building’s impressive granite façade makes quite a first impression on visitors. Making a pop-up card featuring the façade is a fun way to celebrate the center’s birthday.”

Regular museum hours are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 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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