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Gov. Noem proclaims May as Archaeology & Historic Preservation Month

Gov. 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 Executive 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 Ted M. Spencer, the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Officer. “Public appreciation and understanding are the foundation of preserving South Dakota’s past for future generations.”  

The 2021 theme for the month is “It’s in Our Bones.” 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 email to 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 typically 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 176 entries, from 25 towns across the state.   

The first-place winner was Marlee Hayes from McIntosh School in McIntosh. Marlee’s essay was entitled “Bullhead Powwow Grounds.” She won a $100 cash prize and a one-year family membership to the South Dakota State Historical Society valued at $50.   

Wilkes Flatten from Jefferson Elementary School in Watertown took second place. His essay was entitled “This Place Matters: The Crocker Hills.” He won a $75 cash prize and a one-year family membership to the State Historical Society.    

Winning third place with a story called “Living in the Country” was Zada Storm from Lennox Elementary School in Lennox. 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 

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, email or visit For information on membership in the State Historical Society, visit or call 605-773-6000.                                                                                                                      

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.

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