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Historic Preservation Office announces annual Fourth Grade Student Essay Contest: “This Place Matters”

The South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office is accepting applications for their annual Fourth Grade Student Essay Contest.

This contest is a component of their annual South Dakota Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month, which is celebrated each year in May. The month was created to acquaint the public with the disciplines of archaeology and historic preservation and to strengthen the enduring bond between the past and the present.

This competition proposes to enable students to achieve a better appreciation of our state’s history and historic resources, 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 an 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. The place they choose does not need to be a historic site, and students do not need to write a full history of the location. The contest is open to any fourth grade student in South Dakota, whether they be in public school, private school, or home schooled. 

Each entry will be judged on quality of writing, content and theme, and originality of thought. Prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third place. The first place winner will receive a $200 cash prize, second place winner will receive a $100 cash prize, and the third place winner will receive a $50 cash prize. Each winner will also receive a one-year family membership to the South Dakota State Historical Society.

The entry must be postmarked no later than March 17, and winners will be notified on or before April 14. Find the full guidelines and entry form at For any questions, call 605-773-2907 or email

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.