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State Historical Society participates in May Day activities

Every year on May 1, historical societies, archives, museums, and libraries are encouraged to spend some time preparing their organization in the event of a disaster.  

“Writing an emergency preparedness plan and training staff to respond to different scenarios may seem intimidating, but dedicating a little time on May 1 may make a difference if an emergency does happen,” said Chelle Somsen, state archivist for the South Dakota State Historical Society at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. “Examples of activities that can be done on May Day include starting a preparedness plan, updating the contact list for staff, checking to make sure the fire extinguishers and smoke detectors are working, surveying the building for risks, or conducting a disaster drill.”  

On May Day the State Archives staff will do an inventory of disaster response supplies and check the batteries on their flashlights to ensure they are working correctly. State Historical Society staff are updating the emergency preparedness plan to correct any outdated information.  

“These are actions that we can take without the whole process becoming overwhelming,” Somsen said. 

The day is meant to remind heritage organizations to be prepared for a disaster and to take the initiative to plan some activities that may help their organizations in the event of an emergency. If an organization needs assistance with preparing an emergency preparedness plan they are encouraged to contact the State Archives at 605-773-3804 or 

For more information, contact the State Historical Society-Archives at 605-773-3804.  

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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