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State Historical Society creates listing of statues in South Dakota

State Historical Society creates listing of statues in South Dakota


















The South Dakota State Historical Society recently prepared a list of statues in the state. According to Ted Spencer, director of the society’s office of historic preservation, no authoritative, comprehensive list of outdoor art or statues existed.  

“We worked with a variety of sources, including multiple existing lists and websites to compile the list,” said Spencer. “When we got done, we identified over 170 statues in the state.” 

The new list is available online on the historic preservation homepage at The list primarily features permanent public statues of people or figures largely of human form. The list typically does not include privately held statues, or sculptures located in cemeteries, churches, or building interiors.   

“The idea of the list grew out of concern that controversial statues, such as those of Confederate leaders, may exist in the state, but we didn’t find any,” said Jay Vogt, director of the South Dakota State Historical Society and State Historic Preservation Officer. “Of course, our most famous sculpture is Mount Rushmore National Memorial, but the list contains all the presidential statues in Rapid City, the Trail of Governors in Pierre, and veterans memorials and other figures throughout the state. Most of the statues represent the patriotic nature of South Dakotans.” 

The State Historical Society, headquartered at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre collects, preserves, interprets, and promotes the history of the state of South Dakota and its people. The office of historic preservation is one of five offices within the society and manages the National Register of Historic Places program of the National Park Service in South Dakota. The office relates historic preservation to economic, social, and educational state objectives. It surveys, inventories, and registers historical properties, and promotes public awareness and provides technical and financial assistance on preservation. For more information contact the historic preservation office at 605-773-2907 or  

Photo Cutline: The Citadel sits in front of the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre and is one of the statues listed by the South Dakota State Historical Society. (Photo courtesy 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 for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call 605-394-1936 for more information. 

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