|Turning the page on South Dakota history part one|
|Thursday, 15 November 2012 16:07|
From the vast prairies populated by buffalo and grass to the dense forests of the Black Hills, South Dakota has a unique landscape that's supported a unique history for generations of Native Americans and pioneers. Much of that history, or at least what remains, is kept here, at the State Archives in Pierre.
State Archivist Chelle Somsen says, "You'll get caught up in something, you'll be performing research on a different project and you just get absorbed in reading the book or the newspaper or looking at the photos and you just keep looking and looking, even though you found what you were looking for, you keep getting drawn in."
Housing thousands of maps and manuscripts, microfilms and photographs, the archives acts as a public research library, holding many forgotten secrets of South Dakota's earliest statehood days.
Somsen says, "It's wonderful, this building, this archives has just a ton of that kind of material that makes you really proud of our heritage, of the people, all the different kinds of people who were already here or moved here, just the determination and the pride that I think that they had in living here and actually making it work."
Although these books remain stacked and organized in the capital city a new initiative is underway to make the stories of South Dakota's past more accessible.
Somsen says, "We actually have this last year started the South Dakota digital archives and part of that is an initiative called 'Preserving South Dakota through Photographs," and so we have been digitizing photographs and we have roughly around 30,000 images in that digital archives."
Preserving the history of the state and the character of past South Dakotans for generations to come the Archives shows parts of South Dakota that may have otherwise gone forgotten, disappearing into the endless prairie.