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 was created by the State Legislature in 1975, but the origins of the archives collections date back to the creation of the State Historical Society in 1891. The State Archives and its collections were housed in various facilities until 1989 when the Cultural Heritage Center was completed, allowing all of the collections to be in one building along with the State Historical Society administrative offices and other programs administered by the Society. The State Archives is one of five programs of the State Historical Society, which is an office of the Department of Education.
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.