PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota State Historical Society's museum in Pierre has become an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., a move that will give the historical society access to the Smithsonian's vast resources, officials announced Friday.
The partnership will allow the museum at the state's Cultural Heritage Center to borrow artifacts and exhibits from the Smithsonian, the world's largest museum. The partnership also will give South Dakota museum staff a chance to work with the Smithsonian — which has 19 museums and nine research centers— to create new educational programming for schools.
"This exciting new endeavor brings the Smithsonian, in all its breadth and scope, to our prairie home and offers opportunities for the public to explore perspectives on history and culture," State Historical Society director Jay D. Vogt said at a news conference.
Harold Closter, director of Smithsonian Affiliations, said there are 18,000 museums in the United States, but only 177 are Smithsonian affiliates.
"We know that not everyone can come to Washington to visit our museums," Closter said. "We feel we have an obligation to make it easier for people to experience the Smithsonian in their own communities."
Jay Smith, director of the state museum in Pierre, said South Dakota eventually might send an exhibit to the Smithsonian. He said it will take a while to get the partnership up and running at full speed.
The Cultural Heritage Center was completed in 1989 as part of South Dakota's centennial celebration. It houses the state's museum, archives, publishing and historical preservation programs.
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