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Gov. Noem proclaims May as Archaeology & Historic Preservation Month

Governor 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,” Governor 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 2020 theme for the month is “Reviewing Our Historic Places with 20/20 Vision.” With good stewardship of our historic properties, they can remain viable for many years.  

The State Historical Society would like to know what your favorite South Dakota historic site is, which will be shared on the Society’s Historic Preservation Facebook page. Send an e-mail to shpo@state.sd.us or tag your own Facebook post using @southdakotashpo.  

Once again, 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. Entries were judged on quality of writing, content and theme, and originality of thought. 

There were 133 entries, from 19 towns across the state.   

  • The first-place winner was Mathew Jons from Buchanan Elementary School in Pierre. Mathew’s essay was entitled “The DC Booth Fish Hatchery Matters.” He won a $100 cash prize and a one-year family membership to the South Dakota State Historical Society valued at $50.   
  • Rylann Schuelke from Faith Elementary School in Faith took second place. Her title was “Mammoth Site.” She won a $75 cash prize and a one-year family membership to the State Historical Society.   
  • Winning third place with a story called “Black Hills Caverns” was Braelyn Scott from Wagner Community School in Wagner. She 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. 

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 shpo@state.sd.us or website history.sd.gov/preservation.                                                                                                         

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.

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