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State Historical Society holding essay contest

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

“The competition is open to fourth-grade students, as this is the grade level at which many students in the state learn about South Dakota history,” said Benjamin F. Jones, state historian and director of the State Historical Society. “The essay contest will expose students to an appreciation of their historic places, the stories they tell, and why they should be preserved for future generations.”

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 come up with,” continued Jones. “We think it will give students a better understanding of their history and culture.”

The contest entry deadline is Friday, March 12. Entries will be judged on quality of writing, content and theme, and originality of thought. First-, second-, and third-place prizes will be awarded. 

The first-place winner will receive a $100 cash prize and a one-year family membership to the South Dakota State Historical Society (a $55 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 history.sd.gov/preservation during the month of May. Winners from 2020 are currently featured.

Additional information, including complete guidelines and an entry form, are posted on the website. Questions may be directed to Katie Wasley at 605-773-2907 or Katie.Wasley@state.sd.us. 

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 since 2013, 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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