SD Historical Society ramps up for major renovation

Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 6:59 PM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The South Dakota State Historical Society building opened in 1989, and this year it will start its first ever major renovation.

The Culture Heritage Center received roughly $12 million altogether from the legislature last year to do things like add significant storage space, fix the sod roof, and add more shared “learning spaces.”

”We’ve done a lot of talking, and a lot of thinking about all the details. What color are the door knobs? You know, it is an amazing level of detail that we have gotten into, and the needs of the building. Both from a public aspect and the staffs’ as well,” said Ben Jones, the SD State Historical Society Director.

The project will close the building to the public and staff for at least two years. But while the roughly 30 employees of the Historical Society will be stationed throughout Pierre during the renovation, the opportunities to see history won’t stop.

The Historical Society has a number of “history talks” planned, the yearly conference in Pierre, as well as plans to circulate certain artifacts and research throughout the state.

”We don’t really have a chance to cease operations, and then start back in 2025,” said Jones. “So we have put a lot of thought into how we do that, and it can’t just all be social media.”

For now, the extensive archives the building holds will be moved offsite until the dust settles on the new building.

”The project is fairly typical of building projects, and it Is very normal,” said David Grabitske, the museum’s director. “It is a lot of fluidity, in the project and as you learn things and you just keep adapting, and planning for the future.”

Groundbreaking on the project will be around Memorial Day.