☰ Menu

Planning a Research Visit to the State Archives


Contact Information


South Dakota State Archives
900 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501
Reference Desk Phone: (605) 773-3804
Reference Desk Email:

The State Archives reopened to the public on June 15th, 2020. Due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns, we have instituted a number of new policies and procedures to protect our visitors, staff, and collections. If you would like to plan a research visit to the archives, here is what you can expect. You can also watch our Online Office Hours: Planning a Research Visit video.

Appointments, Registration, and Visit Preparations

1. For the foreseeable future, the archives will be open Monday through Friday by appointment only, to ensure proper social distancing. Appointments will be in two blocks (9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 1:00-4:30 p.m.). Call or email the Reference Desk to make an appointment. Researchers who anticipate spending the day in the archives will need to make two appointments. If you plan to bring a partner or research assistant with you, please indicate this while making the appointment so accommodations can be made.

2. The archives research room will be closed to the public between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. for cleaning, and to allow us to prepare for the afternoon appointments.

3. While making the appointment, researchers must indicate which collections they will need. Please be as specific as possible with box numbers, library call numbers, microfilm roll numbers, etc. These materials will be pulled and waiting for you in the research room, which will help you use your time more efficiently. We have a number of online indexes you can use to find materials, as well as our Library Catalog and ArchivesSpace. For an introduction to ArchivesSpace, check out this video on our YouTube channel. If you have problems, or need assistance locating materials, please contact the Reference Desk.

4. All visitors will complete a researcher registration form which lists the new rules regarding use of archival collections and researching in the archives. A signature indicates agreement and compliance with the rules. Please complete this form and email it to the Reference Desk prior to your appointment.

5. If you would like to use a digital camera to take photos, please complete and email the Digital Camera Use Form to the archives prior to your appointment.


1. You will be asked to store any belongings not required for note taking in a locker.

2. While researchers are not required to wear a mask, we encourage you to do so.

3. The research room has two public computers available, which have access to the Library edition of If you anticipate using your personal subscription to or our online indexes during your visit, we encourage you to bring your own laptop or tablet. The research room has free Wi-Fi available for researchers.


1. The materials you requested will be on a cart next to your assigned table.

2. Archival materials are often unique, irreplaceable, and fragile. Please handle items with care and obey any special instructions given to you by archives staff. For a full list of handling rules, please see the researcher registration form.

3. Scratch paper and clean pencils will be available to researchers for note taking. Return the pencils to the "Used" container when finished.

4. Residue from hand sanitizer has been shown to damage archival materials. Instead of using hand sanitizer, please wash your hands with soap and water in the restroom.

5. You can print from the microfilm readers for $1.00 per page, and request photocopies of other materials for $0.25 per page. Let archives staff know if you need photocopies. You can also use a digital camera to take an unlimited number of images for $15 per day (Digital Camera Use Form).


1. When you are finished researching, return all materials to your cart.

2. Go to the Reference Desk to pay for your photocopies.

3. Retrieve your belongings from the locker and depart. Hand sanitizer is available for departing visitors, or you can use the restrooms in the lobby to wash your hands with soap and water.

The safety of our researchers and collections is our top priority. Thank you for your patience. If you have any questions, please call (605) 773-3804 or email


605-123-4567 | Contact us! | Twitter | Facebook