Skip to main content

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,” Gov. Noem said in the 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 2022 theme for the month is “Looking Local – History Where You Are.” The South Dakota Historic Preservation Office wants to encourage South Dakotans to seek out and learn about the history in their local areas

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 often 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 based on the prompt, “This Place Matters.” They were asked to write 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 an existing historic site. Entries were judged on quality of writing, content and theme, and originality of thought. 

There were 118 entries, from 12 different towns and 11 different schools across the state.   

The first-place winner was Jack Hern from Rapid Valley Elementary in Rapid City. Jack’s essay was entitled “Spokane Mine and Ghost Town” and was written about the Spokane Gold Mine near Custer State Park. He won a $100 cash prize and a one-year family membership to the South Dakota State Historical Society valued at $55.   

Liv Knopp, also from Rapid Valley Elementary in Rapid City, took second place. Her title was “The Learning Library” and was written about the Rapid City Public Library. She won a $75 cash prize and a one-year family membership to the State Historical Society.   

Winning third place with a story called “A Mistake that Matters to Me” about the Bowdle water tower was Faith Roehrich from Clark County Elementary in Clark. 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, e-mail or website For information on membership in the State Historical Society, please 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.