Saturday, April 18, 2020

Historical Society seeks help in documenting COVID-19

The South Dakota State Historical Society in Pierre is seeking assistance in documenting how the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis is affecting people in South Dakota.  

South Dakotans are encouraged to submit their electronic writings, photos, artwork, short audio or video clips and other materials to the State Historical Society-Archives. A special digital submission page has been created on the State Historical Society website to make it easier for people to donate their items. Go to is important to capture the ways we are experiencing this event, whether they be stories of loss and tragedy or stories of resilience, grace, and helpfulness,” said state archivist Chelle Somsen. “Future generations will thank you for sharing a part of your lives with them.”  

The State Historical Society has collected items documenting South Dakota’s history since statehood in 1889. Everyday activities, life-changing events, triumphs, and achievements are all recorded in the oral histories, newspaper articles, films, diaries, photographs, books, and artifacts that make up the society’s collections.  

“These items bring history to life and help students, scholars, historians, and lawmakers understand our past and learn from it,” said Jay D. Vogt, director of the State Historical Society.  

Vogt noted that, despite the fact that the Cultural Heritage Center, including the State Archives, is closed to the public until further notice because of the COVID-19 pandemic, society staff, mostly working at home, continue to collect, preserve, interpret, and promote the history of the people of South Dakota. 

For more information, contact the State Historical Society-Archives at 605-773-3804 or visit


About the South Dakota State Historical Society 
The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Education. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, the archives, and the historic preservation, publishing, and administrative/ development offices. Call 605-773-3458 or visit for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call 605-394-1936 for more information.

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