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State Historical Society holding preservation essay contest

The State Historic Preservation Office of the South Dakota State Historical Society in Pierre is holding an essay contest for fourth-grade students. Prizes will be awarded to the top three essays during Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month, which is celebrated in May. 

 The essay contest aims to expose students to an appreciation of their state’s historic places, the stories they tell, and why they should be preserved for future generations, according to Jay D. Vogt, director of the State Historical Society.  

With the theme of “This Place Matters,” students are 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 preserved. It does not need to be a historic site, and writing a history of the location is not necessary. 

“We look forward to sponsoring this contest and seeing what places and stories students tell us about,” said Vogt. “Our goal is for students to achieve a better understanding of their history and culture.” 

The contest entry deadline is Friday, March 13. Entries will be judged on quality of writing, content and theme, and originality of thought. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third places.   

The first-place winner will receive a $100 cash prize and a one-year family membership to the South Dakota State Historical Society (a $50 value). The second-place winner will receive a $75 cash prize and a one-year family membership to the society. The third-place winner will receive a $50 cash prize and a one-year family membership to the society. 

The winning entries will be posted on the society’s website at during the month of May. Winners from 2019 are currently featured.  

Additional information, including complete guidelines and an entry form, are posted on the website. Questions may be directed to Cindy Snow at 605-773-2907 or  

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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