Welcome to the South Dakota State Historical Society. Created by the Legislature in 1901, the Society has been the keeper of state’s history ever since. Today we operate five program areas—archaeology, archives, historic preservation, museum, and research and publishing. Explore South Dakota’s history—list your home on the National Register of Historic Places, read our publications, study in our research room, and visit our museum. Find out more about the South Dakota State Historical Society here.
Archaeological Research Center
The Archaeological Research Center is a program of the South Dakota State Historical Society. It is under the direction of the state archaeologist. The Center serves several roles in preserving the archaeological resources of South Dakota. State code requires the Center to maintain records of archaeological sites and projects. To this end, we maintain a database on more than 23,000 archaeological sites and 12,000 projects; our research library contains thousands of archaeological reports and reference documents. The Center's repository houses artifact collections from many agencies, plus photos, slides, maps, and other records. Crews from the Center work across the state on archaeological surveys and other projects for many agencies to assist them in meeting their obligations under federal and state cultural resource protection laws. Additionally, staff members from the Center provide public outreach opportunities through excavation projects, laboratory analysis, and programs to schools and other organizations. The Center has also been a long-term partner with the Journey Museum in Rapid City, which hosts archaeological exhibits based on artifacts from our collections.
The State Archives of the South Dakota State Historical Society collects, appraises, accessions, describes, organizes, preserves, determines significance, and makes available manuscript collections, South Dakota state, county, and town government records, photographs, maps, and other archival materials which have permanent historical and research value. The State Archives contains over 12,000 cubic feet of records that document many aspects of South Dakota’s history and heritage. With few exceptions these records are available for public research. Archival documents are used for different purposes by government officials, teachers, attorneys, students, genealogists, historians, historic preservationists, exhibit designers, authors, and journalists.
State Historic Preservation Office
The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) manages the National Register of Historic Places program of the National Park Service in South Dakota. The program surveys, inventories, and registers historical properties. The SHPO also monitors state, federal, and local government activities which affect cultural and historic resources; provides advice on preservation methods; promotes public education on historical properties; and supports municipal and county historic preservation commissions to advance the state's economic, social, and educational objectives.
About the Museum
South Dakota, a land of countless stories – discover them at the Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society. From the horse cultures of the Northern Plains Indians to gutsy homesteaders to old west scoundrels, the museum captures the spirit of the people. Discover a new adventure at every turn. We invite you to plan a visit!
South Dakota Historical Society Press
Established in 1997, the South Dakota Historical Society Press
is committed to producing books that reflect the rich and varied history of South Dakota and the region. As part of the South Dakota Historical Society, the Press preserves, researches, and promotes the evidence of South Dakota's colorful culture and heritage. The Press has achieved a reputation for publishing well-researched and scholarly books of the highest standard, and it consistently produces popular books that are both accurate and enjoyable.
South Dakota Historical Society Foundation
The South Dakota Historical Society Foundation was established in 1982 as a private support group for the South Dakota State Historical Society. The Foundation is a nonprofit corporation designated by the Internal Revenue Service as tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code. The Foundation, which is governed by a citizen board of directors, enlists interested individuals and organizations to provide financial and human resources of the Society. The Foundation seeks annual, capital, and planned gifts to support the mission and goals of the State Historical Society.