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About the Archives

The State Archives of the South Dakota State Historical Society is located at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre, SD. The State Archives collects, preserves, and provides access to records documenting the history of South Dakota and its people.

The Cultural Heritage Center is currently closed for construction. We expect to reopen to the public in 2025. Although the Research Room is closed, you can still submit research requests for records! Visit our Research Services page for more information.

Contact Information

South Dakota State Archives
900 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501



Archives staff and collections will be relocated during the renovation of the Cultural Heritage Center. Due to this relocation, the Archives Research Room will be closed to in-person research visits after March 10, 2023. We expect to re-open to visitors in 2025. To learn more about the renovation, visit Cultural Heritage Center Renovation Update.


Fee Schedule (View as PDF)

Effective September 8, 2020

Foreign patrons must send their fees in U.S. dollars. We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.

The State Historical Society reserves the right to refuse requests for research, digitization, or reproduction if, in the opinion of the State Archivist, the act would produce an undue burden on staff, or would result in damage, inappropriate use, and/or dissemination of State Archives collections.

Visiting K-12 and postsecondary students receive 50% off photocopies and digital reproduction fees.
South Dakota State Historical Society members receive 10% off research services and photocopying fees. Members also receive a $5.00 discount on digital reproduction fees for photographs and maps.
Discounts do not apply to services provided by the Special Projects Program.

Research Services
$15.00 Search of a single record (e.g. one obituary or naturalization record) that requires less than 30 minutes to complete.
$25.00 per hour Search of multiple records and resources. Includes up to 10 photocopies or 2 microfilm copies and standard mailing.
$30.00 per hour + costs Other services not listed.
$0.25 per page Letter (8.5"x11") or Legal (8.5"x14")
$0.50 per page 11"x17", black and white
$1.00 per page 11"x17", color
$5.00 per page larger than 11"x17", black and white
$10.00 per page larger than 11"x17", color
$1.00 per page Any size printed from microfilm reader
$0.50 per page Survey notes
$3.00 per plat Survey plats
$10.00 Certification of a single record
Digital Camera
$15.00 per day Unlimited use of a personal digital camera for text-based documents
Digital Reproduction Fees
Note: These fees include delivery by email or file sharing service. Delivery by USB flash drive costs an additional $5.00.
Scanning of Physical Items
$15.00 per scan For high-resolution scans of photographs and maps
State Historical Society members; South Dakota state, local, and tribal government agencies; and South Dakota not-for-profit organizations pay $10 per scan.
$2.00 per scan For other text-based materials
Reproduction of Existing Digital Files (previously digitized or born-digital)
$15.00 per file Digital photographs and maps
State Historical Society members; South Dakota state, local, and tribal government agencies; and South Dakota not-for-profit organizations pay $10 per file.
$10.00 per file Digital audio and video recordings
$1.00 per page, with a maximum of $25.00 per file Reproduction of text-based digital files
Interlibrary Loan Services
Available for newspaper microfilm only. Prepayment by check, money order, or credit card is required. College and university libraries may be billed by email invoice with prior permission.
$10.00 per reel Interlibrary loan
A maximum of four reels per request
$50.00 per reel Replacement cost for lost microfilm
Reels are due back to the State Archives five weeks after receipt. A 30-day microfilm ILL extension can be granted, if the State Archives is notified prior to the due date by phone or email. Otherwise, a $10.00 per reel late fee will be charged.
Use Fees
Use fees are charged when items from the collections are published and are in addition to any reproduction fees. They must be paid, and a Use Form completed, prior to publication. Payment of the use fee does not constitute permission to reproduce works that are copyrighted. Use fees are non-refundable, and are used to support the preservation and maintenance of our collections.
No use fees
Private use, public lectures, classroom instruction, or research
No fees up to 10 items per project
South Dakota State Historical Society Members
In-State: $10.00 per item
Out-of-State: $25.00 per item
International: $30.00 per item
For-Profit Corporations, Partnerships, Private Businesses, and Individuals
In-State: no fee
Out-of-State: $10.00 per item
Not-for-Profit Organizations (must provide proof of status)
In-State: no fee
Out-of-State: $10.00 per item
Government Agencies (state, local, or tribal)
Special Projects Program Services
Notes: Scanning fees include delivery by file sharing service. Delivery by USB flash drive costs an additional $5.00. Discounts do not apply to services provided by the Special Projects Program.
$40.00 per reel Microfilm Reproduction
Microfilm Scanning (16mm or 35mm, greyscale or bitonal)
$0.10 per image TIFF/JPEG
$0.10 per image PDF/Crop/Split Pages
$0.20 per image Bookmarking/Indexing
$0.20 per image OCR
$0.30 per page Scanning (books, volumes, and other large-scale scanning projects)
$30.00 per hour plus costs Other Services


Mission Statement

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.

In order to accomplish this mission, the State Archives:

  • - Accessions archival materials to ensure preservation, clear organization, and ease of retrieval
  • - Researches and provides assistance to visiting researchers, government employees, and the general public
  • - Provides knowledge of archival principals and professional practices
  • - Seeks out and acquires collections revealing the history of South Dakota from various time periods
  • - Provides physical storage and procedures for handling collections to ensure their continued preservation
  • - Creates finding aids, repository guides, and web pages to locate and describe archive collections
  • - Oversees digitization of newspapers and other records to assist in their preservation and dissemination
  • - Performs preservation treatments on materials to ensure their longevity
  • - Informs and assists other repositories which hold materials relating to South Dakota history
  • - Places emphasis on the need to collect, preserve, and make available digital records
Collection Policy

State Archives Collection Development Policy 

The South Dakota State Legislature's principal mandate to our State Historical Society is "to provide education of the public in the fields of history." (SDCL 1-18-3) In order to fulfill that mission, South Dakota Codified Law (SDCL 1-18B-2) requires that the Society "collect, preserve, exhibit and publish material for the study of history, especially the history of this and adjacent states . . . acquire documents and manuscripts . . . obtain narratives and records of pioneers; conduct a library of historical reference . . . diffuse information relating to the history of the region and in general encourage and develop within the state the study of history." 

The South Dakota State Archives is one of the state-funded programs through which the Historical Society accomplishes these tasks. The purpose of the Archives' Collection Development Policy is to provide guidelines for staff in the appraisal and acquisition of those published and unpublished materials which will fulfill the Legislature's mandate, and to inform the public and our colleagues of our collecting policies and interests. 

Statement of Collecting Interests and Priorities: 


The State Archives exists to collect, preserve, process/catalogue and provide reference access to those primary and secondary research sources, regardless of format, which best document the political, social, cultural, economic and natural history of Dakota territory and the State of South Dakota, its political subdivisions and citizenry; and those secondary (published) sources which similarly document the history of adjacent states with which South Dakota's history is closely intertwined. 
Donation Form


Government Records

As a state agency, our first duty is to collect and provide professional care for permanently valuable records of state/territorial and local government and those published materials, particularly government documents, which complement our records collections. Permanent value of government records may be established 1) by the State Records Destruction Board through formal records retention scheduling procedures (see SDCL Chapter 1-27) or 2) by appraisal by the State Archivist or his/her designee. The State Legislature has defined state and local government records in SDCL 1-27-9. 

South Dakota and Regional History

While the State Archives' primary responsibility is to serve as a repository for those state and local government records and publications which have continuing research value, the Archives also accepts donations of materials which fall within our collecting guidelines but which were not created in the transaction of official state or local government business. The Archives may also purchase such material when donation is not a possibility. These materials may include federal government records, personal papers and manuscripts, records of private businesses and organizations, photographic images, maps and architectural and engineering documents, sound and video recordings, books, machine-readable records, and other types of records or publications which document aspects of the history of our region's people, natural resources, and their interaction. 

Special Library Materials

In addition to adherence to collection policies outlined for the Archives above, the Archives' library unit actively collects materials to be added to our large genealogical reference library; serials published in South Dakota; and support literature for professionals in the fields of archives/historical library and museum administration and curatorship, archaeology, historical preservation, and conservation science. 

Digital Records

The South Dakota State Archives is committed to collecting, preserving, and providing access to primary and secondary resources which document the political, social, cultural, economic, and natural history of Dakota Territory and the State of South Dakota. Increasingly, these resources are created and maintained in digital formats. In response, the State Archives has established a Digital Preservation Program designed to ensure long-term access to digital materials.

Materials Not Collected

Generally, the State Archives does not actively collect: three-dimensional objects (such items may be accepted, however, in conjunction with a manuscripts or record collection and separated by prior arrangement to the most appropriate state museum or added to the Archives' ephemera collections if the items are small in size); public records of other states or manuscript material which does not pertain to South Dakota history; published material which does not pertain to our regional history; the paper originals of newspapers or newspaper clippings (we do collect and preserve South Dakota newspapers on microfilm and we encourage persons owning paper originals to check with the State Archives to determine whether the papers they own have been filmed). The published works of South Dakota authors will be actively collected only if they fall within our general collecting guidelines.

Harmful Content Policy

The mission of the South Dakota State Historical Society - State Archives is to preserve historical materials and make them accessible for the public. To accomplish that mission, the State Archives collects items from different institutions, organizations, and individuals. Some of those items are then digitized to provide access to our users.

Our digital collections contain materials that cover all of South Dakota's history. Some of the content is potentially offensive and harmful. The viewpoints represented by these materials belong solely to the original creators, not this institution or its members.

See our Statement on Potentially Offensive and Harmful Content (PDF) for more information.

Take-Down Policy

If you believe that an item or items should be removed from the South Dakota Digital Archives, please complete the Take-Down Request form below and return it to the State Archives. Items will be removed from the Digital Archives while the complaint is investigated.

Take-Down Request Form: DOCX Version / PDF Version


Archives staff members offer lectures and slide presentations on research sources in the State Archives, preservation and conservation, and various aspects of South Dakota history. The Archives works closely with libraries, genealogical societies, and historical institutions and provides assistance to schools and school groups. Exhibits on recent acquisitions are featured periodically, and items from archives collections are included in the Museum gallery at the Cultural Heritage Center. Tours of archives facilities are provided to small groups with advance notice.

Historical Society Staff Presentations

Kevin DeVries - Research Room Administrator

Chelle Somsen - State Archivist

Kimberly Smith - Librarian

Sara Casper - Government Records Archivist

Matthew T. Reitzel - Manuscript/Photo Archivist

Nicole Hosette - Digital Archivist

Sarah Kirchman - Digital Technician

Cherri Reed - Scanning Technician

Steve Mayer- Archives Associate


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