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Country schools to be the focus of Cultural Heritage Center program

Preserving the rural school experience through written word and art will be the focus of the April meeting of the History and Heritage Book Club.

Former Pierre resident Betsey DeLoache, the author of the book series, “Country Schools: Past and Present,” will share her experiences collecting the memories of students and teachers who attended country schools during the program at 7 p.m. CDT on Thursday, April 15.

People may attend the program at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre or virtually via Zoom. DeLoache now lives in South Carolina and will be speaking via Zoom.

Attendance at the Cultural Heritage Center will be limited to 15 people to allow for social distancing. To make a reservation to attend at the Cultural Heritage Center or to receive the Zoom link, contact Dorinda Daniel by phone at 605-773-6006 or via email at

Everyone is welcome to attend the free program, which is sponsored by the South Dakota Historical Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising partner of the South Dakota State Historical Society. It is made possible by a grant from the South Dakota Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“We’re grateful to Betsey for her work to preserve the history of country schools, both through documenting the experiences of those who taught at or attended country schools, and through her artwork of schoolhouses,” said Foundation Chief Executive Officer Catherine Forsch.

DeLoache’s interest in country schools began while she was living in Pierre and entered a drawing of a country school in an art show. People who saw the drawing shared their memories of rural schools with her. DeLoache grew up in Massachusetts, where rural schools are part of that state’s distant past. The concept of one person teaching multiple grades in a school that usually consisted of one room intrigued her. She began interviewing teachers and students to learn about their experiences and visiting country schools when they were in session.

The result was “Country Schools: Past and Present,” a book containing the stories of teachers and students. Since that first book, two more in the series have been published. DeLoache illustrated the books with colored pencil drawings of schoolhouses, people, places, and school-days memorabilia.

All three volumes of “Country Schools: Past and Present” are sold at the Heritage Stores at the Cultural Heritage Center and the Capitol.

Please contact Daniel for more information about the program.

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 for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call 605-394-1936 for more information.

About the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation
The South Dakota Historical Society Foundation is a private charitable nonprofit that seeks funding to assist the South Dakota State Historical Society in programming and projects to preserve South Dakota’s history and heritage for future generations.

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