Museum

Our Collection
The collection pieces of the Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society help tell the story of the South Dakota experience. These artifacts are the tangible link between today and the past, and will continue to be irreplaceable tools of knowledge well into the future.

The museum’s collection covers a wide range of topics and periods. The collection consists of all types of materials, old, new, big, small, purple, green, toy, weapon, etc. We have a world-class collection of Lakota materials and internationally significant objects that document the European arrival on the northern plains. Our military collection is extensive, as are our collections of quilts, political buttons, and toys, among others. The museum generally does not collect large transportation items, large agricultural equipment, archaeological or natural history specimens, or any item that may violate state, federal, or international law.

Click on the following links to learn more about these segments of the collection: Coming soon!

One misconception is that the museum only collects old things. Not everything old is important, and not everything important is old. What happens today will be what children 50 or 150 years in the future will read in their textbooks. It is the museum’s responsibility to collect artifacts that touch and shape the lives of present-day South Dakotans, just as we do for our ancestors.

One of the core components of the museum’s mission is to actively collect. The museum relies on the generosity of donors to make additions to the collection. If you have items that you would like to donate, please click here.

The collections are a treasure trove of information for researchers, and are used in the museum’s nationally recognized exhibits. In addition, the museum frequently loans collection pieces to other museums.