South Dakota boasts a large number of museums that share its’ rich history and heritage. There is a wide selection of museums throughout the state, each focusing on a unique aspect of life in South Dakota. These museums are just waiting to catch your eyes and spark your interest in South Dakota’s history and way of life.
Western Region Museums
Wounded Knee Museum
On December 23, 1890, US troops massacred almost 300 Lakota Sioux men, women, and children at what would become known as the Wounded Knee Massacre. The Wounded Knee Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the Lakota families whose lives were profoundly changed or lost at Wounded Knee.
At the Journey Museum you can experience the history of the Black Hills from the violent upheaval that formed the hills through the gold rush, up to the present day adventures of western South Dakota.
Sturgis Motorcycle Museum
Vintage motorcycles, dating as far back as 1905, display the wide variety of motorcycle styles and options.
National Presidential Wax Museum
If you’ve ever wanted to meet John F. Kennedy, or George W. Bush, the National Presidential Wax Museum is the place to do it. The museum features all of the nation’s presidents, situated in scenes illustrating the nation’s history.
The Mammoth Site
The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota, is the world’s largest mammoth research facility. At The Mammoth site visitors can tour an active paleontological dig site and view Ice Age fossils.
Indian Museum of North America
Home to an extraordinary collection of Native American art and artifacts, the Indian Museum of North American was started in 1965 by Charles Eder, Assiniboine-Sioux, from Montana. Almost 90 percent of the museum’s collections has been donated by those interested in the rich cultural heritage of Native Americans in North America.
Central Region Museums
The Verendrye Museum, located in Fort Pierre, South Dakota, is dedicated to documenting the early history of the Fort Pierre area, and to preserving artifacts from that era.
South Dakota Hall of Fame
The South Dakota Hall of Fame honors those who contribute to the success of the state of South Dakota. Located in Chamberlain, it’s a quick stop off the interstate and gives great insight into the history of South Dakota and those who’ve helped establish it.
Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center
Located on the campus of St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota, the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center promotes and preserves Lakota (Sioux) culture. The name Akta Lakota means to honor the people, which is the mission of the museum.
Eastern Region Museums
Washington Pavilion of Arts and Sciences
The Washington Pavilion of Arts and Sciences in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is the perfect place to spend a rainy day with the family. As the state’s premier entertainment, cultural and educational facility, the Paviion features a Visual Arts Center, the Kirby Science Discovery Center, the Wells Fargo CineDome Theater, and the Husby Performing Arts Center.
South Dakota Art Museum
The South Dakota Art Museum has been showcasing South Dakota’s local art and artists since 1970. Located in Brookings, South Dakota, the museum has a permanent collection, as well as changing exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and guided tours. The museum has six galleries, a Museum Store, and a Kid’s Sensation Station.
Terry Redlin Art Center
The Terry Redlin Art Center was designed as a gift to the state of South Dakota, and the town of Watertown. Redlin was given a scholarship from the state of South Dakota which sent him through art school, and he decided he wanted to honor the state and the people of Watertown by placing his art center there.
Agricultural Heritage Museum
Anyone who has drive past a verdant cornfield, or spotted a field full of cows grazing, knows that agriculture is essential to the South Dakota way of life. The South Dakota State Agricultural Heritage Museum is dedicated to preserving this rich agricultural history and and rural heritage.
National Music Museum
The National Music Museum & Center for Study of the History of Musical Instruments, located on the University of South Dakota campus, houses outstanding collections of historic instruments, including over 14,500 American, European, and non-Western instruments. This collection, renowned for its breadth and depth, is the most inclusive anywhere.