South Dakota’s many museums and art galleries have beautifully documented the state’s rich history. Visitors to these cultural venues can revisit the tribes of the Sioux Nation, Wild West Outlaws, and the lives of early settlers and prospectors, and also admire artwork inspired by South Dakota’s breathtaking landscapes. Nature preserves, wildlife refuges, zoos, and aquariums showcase the region’s distinctive flora and fauna.
Artifacts and modern American Indian artwork are proudly displayed in Native American museums throughout the state. The most prominent Native American museums include:
- Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center: An outreach of St. Joseph’s Indian School located in Chamberlain, the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center honors the Lakota People and serves as a reminder of the cultural importance and pride of the Native American people.
- Indian Museum of North America: Located at the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota, the Indian Museum features artifacts and art from Native American tribes from all over North America.
- The Journey Museum: In Rapid City, the Journey Museum brings together historic collections to tell the story of the Western Great Plains, told from the perspective of the Lakota people and the pioneers who shaped its past.
- Deadwood, South Dakota, second only to Tombstone for its Wild West outlaw activity, is home to many museums featuring such notorious outlaws as Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and Wyatt Earp, as well as prospector museums that tell the story of the Gold Rush of 1876.
- Return to the pioneer days by visiting the Pioneer Historical Museum of South Dakota in Hot Springs. Revisit South Dakota’s most famous pioneer, Laura Ingalls Wilder, at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society in DeSmet.
- Bramble Park Zoo in Watertown is home to more than 500 animal species native to South Dakota and from around the world. Bear Country USA, located in Rapid City, treats visitors to up-close glimpses of bear, elk, reindeer, mountain lion, otters, foxes, coyotes, and bobcats. In the town of Pierre, the South Dakota Discovery Center and Aquarium provides visitors with hands-on science activities that are as fun as they are educational.
- Railroad enthusiasts, farm machinery fanatics, and motorcycle devotees will delight in South Dakota’s numerous transportation and agricultural museums. Art connoisseurs will enjoy browsing South Dakota’s many galleries located in Custer, Rapid City, and Sioux Falls.
- The South Dakota Art Museum, located in Brookings, is home to notable permanent exhibits, including Harvey Dunn paintings and the Marghab Collection, as well as other works of art that embrace the artistic legacy of South Dakota. Performance art aficionados will appreciate South Dakota’s many theatres, operas, and playhouses.
The unique blend of South Dakota’s museums and art exhibits will entice visitors of all interest levels. The state’s many cultural venues encourage tourists and locals to embrace their passion, expand their mind, and indulge their senses. South Dakota’s museums and art exhibits are a wonderful way for families to enlighten themselves and enjoy time together without busting their vacation budget.