Gov. Kristi Noem has proclaimed May as Archaeology & Historic Preservation Month in South Dakota.
The month “acquaints the public with the disciplines of archaeology and historic preservation and strengthens the enduring bond between the past and the present,” Gov. Noem said in the proclamation.
Historic Preservation Month has been celebrated in South Dakota since it was established at the national level in 1973. The state added archaeology in 2005 to recognize it as a partner in historic preservation.
“South Dakota’s cultural heritage is rich and diverse as represented by thousands of archaeological and historical sites, historic buildings and landscapes that have been identified and recorded throughout the state,” said Jay D. Vogt, director of the South Dakota State Historical Society at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. “Public appreciation and understanding is the foundation of preserving South Dakota’s past for future generations.”
The 2019 theme for the month is “There’s No Place Like Home.” People have been calling South Dakota home for over 10,000 years. The construction methods, materials and designs of homes in South Dakota have changed dramatically over these years, but whether it was an earth lodge or a bungalow, there really is no place like home.
The State Historical Society sponsored a statewide essay contest for all students in the fourth grade, the year in which South Dakota history is taught. The purpose was to enable students to achieve a better appreciation of their historic resources, the stories they tell and why they should be maintained.
Students were asked to write a 100-400 word essay about any South Dakota location that is at least 50 years old, why it is a favorite place for them and why it should be saved. It did not need to be a historic site.
Fifty-eight entries were received. The participants were from 15 towns, 14 schools and three home schools. Entries were judged on quality of writing, content and theme, and originality of thought.
The first-place winner was Kendal Waltner from Tea Area Legacy Elementary School. Kendal’s essay entitled “Out of the Park” was about Sherman Park in Sioux Falls. She won a $200 cash prize and a one-year family membership to the South Dakota State Historical Society valued at $50.
Brynn Roehrich from Clark Elementary School took second place. With the title of “This Place Matters,” Brynn wrote about the Mellette House in Watertown. She won a $100 cash prize and a one-year family membership to the State Historical Society.
Winning third place with a story about her grandpa’s farm near Eureka was Amelia Duncan, who is home schooled in Aberdeen. Her essay was called “The Perfect Example of South Dakota Beauty.” Amelia won a $50 cash prize and a one-year family membership to the State Historical Society.
A link to the winning essays can be found on the State Historical Society’s website at history.sd.gov/preservation/archhpmonth.aspx.
Activities across South Dakota are listed on the State Historical Society’s online calendar of events at history.sd.gov. This calendar highlights educational programs in the areas of archaeology, preservation and history across the state and beyond, throughout the year. Those interested in submitting an event to be posted on the calendar can find a form on the website calendar page.
For more information on this annual celebration or other historic preservation programs, contact the State Historic Preservation Office at the Cultural Heritage Center, 900 Governors Drive, Pierre, SD 57501-2217; telephone 605-773-3458, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or website history.sd.gov/preservation.
Editor’s Note: Photo caption – Promo for South Dakota’s 2019 Archaeology & Historic Preservation Month. (Photos courtesy of the South Dakota State Historical Society)
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 history.sd.gov for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call 605-394-1936 for more information.