Dinosaur 13

by Katlyn Richter on October 7, 2014 · 0 comments

In May, I attended the Black Hills Film Festival. I’ve been to each festival since it began 5 years ago, and every year something special touches me. Every year I go home talking about something – some movie, an interesting topic, and of course, the many great people I meet – but, this year, the highlight of the festival was the showing of Dinosaur 13.
 Dinosaur 13 is the story of the custody battle for Sue, the largest, most complete T. Rex ever found. It premiered at Sundance Film Festival and was purchased for theatrical distribution by Lionsgate. It sold for one million dollars, an unusually high amount for a documentary. The Black Hills Film Festival in Hill City was one of few select festivals that was able to screen the documentary prior to its theatrical release.

As I mentioned, the Black Hills Film Festival takes place in Hill City. I was able to watch this documentary in the very town where the drama took place. I sat surrounded by not only community members, but members of the Black Hills Institute of Geology involved in the battle over Sue. In fact, I sat directly behind one of the geologists who was featured frequently in the film. It was his first time watching the documentary. Sitting next to his wife. the couple winced during every grueling part of the story. The emotions they experienced during the showing was raw and powerful, which added power to my own viewing experience.

I won’t give away too much of the story here on this blog, but I do encourage readers to check out www.dinosaur13movie.com. The website lists several places where you are able to purchase the documentary on demand to watch in your home. The film has been screened at dozens of festivals in locations like Wales, England, Norway, Scotland, the Black Hills of South Dakota, Australia, and dozens of others. It was an absolute treat to watch it at the Black Hills Film Festival in the exact city where Sue was dearly loved by these scientists.

Next time you come to South Dakota, be sure to stop at the Museum at the Black Hills Institute, which is where Sue was brought after being discovered. After watching Dinosaur 13, I don’t think that I’ll look at fossils the same. It was amazing how much love goes into these discoveries. I certainly will no longer be able to walk into this museum without being overwhelmed with emotion. The museum describes itself as “a modest but incredible natural history museum. Natural history enthusiasts can rest assured; you will find something unique in this treasure trove of amazing dinosaurs, fossils, minerals and collectibles from all over the world.” After watching Dinosaur 13, I am sure that they are right.



Posted in History


by Katlyn Richter on July 31, 2014 · 0 comments

We have been seeing lots of great photos shared with us by visitors in South Dakota with our #HiFromSD social media campaign.

If your vacation plans include South Dakota over the coming months, be sure to share your photos and videos with us and they will collect on our landing page www.TravelSouthDakota.com/HiFromSD. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next trip, it’s a great place to start!

Here’s some fun shots we wanted to share with you:


July means one thing in De Smet, SD: It’s Pageant Month! No, not beauty pageants. No, not “Toddlers and Tiaras.” In De Smet, “pageant” means hundreds of volunteers combining their talents to produce a family-friendly play based on the writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the area’s most famous resident.

The theme for the 2014 Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant in De Smet is “These Happy Golden Years.” Based on Wilder’s eighth book, the production will take place over the course of three weekends in July. The play is entertaining and educational for all ages and a great opportunity to watch an outdoor performance.

2014 Dates:

-          July 11-13

-          July 18-20

-          July 25-27

The gates open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. Before the show, attendees can shop for souvenirs at the Whatnot Shop and treats at the Prairie Popper. There will also be free wagon rides around the property and live music to enjoy.

Wooden bench seating will be available in the amphitheater. However, people are welcome to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets. To make the most of the evening, attendees are encouraged to bring bug repellant and additional layers for the cool evening weather.

Advance tickets are not necessary. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children. Children under the age of five are admitted free of charge. We hope you’re able to make it to one of the shows this year and enjoy part of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s amazing story!

For more details, click here.


Written by former soap opera star Richard Cerasani, “Love Letters from Mount Rushmore: The Story of a Marriage, a Monument, and a Moment in History” is the newest book available from the South Dakota State Historical Society.


Starting with the discovery of an old trunk, Cerasani recounts a previously untold story of love and opportunity set during the carving of Mount Rushmore.


The story centers on Cerasani’s father, Arthur Cerasani, who worked on Mount Rushmore from March to September of 1940. A sculptor and artist from Rochester, N.Y., Arthur lived in the Black Hills, while his family remained over 1,500 miles away in Avon, N.Y. Over this vast distance, he and his wife Mary stayed connected through daily letters. Their correspondence, presented here with never-before-seen photographs, brings to light the everyday trials of working on the Mount Rushmore Memorial and the strength of the human spirit.


Despite isolation, spring blizzards, summer heat, and the unpredictable moods and fortunes of master sculptor Gutzon Borglum, Arthur Cerasani manages to grow as an artist and connect with Luigi Del Bianco, Hugo Villa and other carvers of the great monument.


“Richard Cerasani is telling the story of his parents, but, in the end, he is sharing the experience of many workers on Mount Rushmore,” said Jay D. Vogt, director of the State Historical Society. “By using letters, photographs and art, the author has created an engaging new account for readers about this national monument. It is an important piece of history that, until now, was not available.”


Made famous by his role as the villain Bill Watson on “General Hospital,” Richard Cerasani is the middle son of Arthur and Mary Cerasani. He has been a professional actor and member of the Screen Actors Guild, Actors’ Equity Association and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists for some 50 years. He acts under his professional name, Richard Caine.


On the experience of writing “Love Letters from Mount Rushmore,” Cerasani relates, “when I first started this book, Arthur and Mary Cerasani were simply my parents. However, the trunk in the attic revealed a more complete—and complex—picture of the life they had lived for their children and others.”


“Love Letters from Mount Rushmore: The Story of a Marriage, a Monument, and a Moment in History” is available for $29.95 plus shipping and tax and can be purchased from most bookstores or ordered directly from the South Dakota Historical Society Press. Visit www.sdshspress.com, email orders@sdshspress.com or call (605) 773-6009.


Posted in History

Sioux Horse Effigy

by Katlyn Richter on May 23, 2014 · 0 comments

South Dakota’s own Sioux Horse Effigy, an artifact from the collection of the Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society, is presently on display in a groundbreaking exhibition of Plains Indian masterworks, entitled  “The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky.” We worked very closely with exhibition organizers to ensure the safety and security of the effigy as it is exhibited in three of the best art museums in the world.


The new international, traveling exhibition opened in Paris at musée du quai Branly on April 7. It was organized by quai Branly in partnership with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and in collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It is curated by Gaylord Torrence, one of the nation’s leading scholars of Plains Indian art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum.


“The Plains Indians” will be on view at quai Branly until July 20.  It travels to the Nelson-Atkins Museum for display from Sept. 19 to Jan. 11, 2015. The final stop for the exhibition is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from March 2 to May 10, 2015.


To have one of our prized artifacts included in an exhibit of this magnitude is a great opportunity for the Museum to call attention to our amazing collection. This magnificent artifact, which also serves as the logo of our organization, will be seen by approximately one million people over the next 12 months. We are presently planning a celebration of the Sioux Horse Effigy when it returns to the Cultural Heritage Center in 2015.


This is not the first time the Sioux Horse Effigy has been displayed overseas.   It traveled to Great Britain in 1977 as part of the “Sacred Circles” exhibition.  The effigy was singled out at the time as a unique and important artifact by scholars and art historians during its first run overseas.  This new exhibition promises to bring even more attention to the object – and awareness for the Historical Society and the State of South Dakota as people recognize the great cultural heritage and history of the Mount Rushmore state.


The exhibition, and the inclusion of the effigy, continues to generate a great deal of publicity for the Museum.  The effigy was recently featured in an article in the Kansas City Star about the exhibit, and news stories have appeared in over three dozen news organizations in four states.  Additionally, updates about the effigy can be seen in an exhibit at the Cultural Heritage Center that features the travels of the effigy, as well as Museum’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SDMuseum?ref=sgm


For more information about the Sioux Horse Effigy, the traveling exhibit, or the Cultural Heritage Center, visit www.history.sd.gov or call 605.773.3458.


Posted in History

The Badlands is one of my hands down favorite places in South Dakota. There are plenty of places that I love, but what I enjoy the most about Badlands National Park is there is always a new place to discover. It really isn’t surprising that you can find something new each time as the park spans 244,000 acres! The rugged beauty of the park combined with the incredible feeling of being on another planet is thrilling.

When I heard the Badlands Astronomy Festival was returning, I knew it was something that everyone must know about. The festival will bring together space science professionals, amateur astronomers, South Dakota residents, and likely, many visitors from afar. The event is happening July 25-27. The celebration will take place over three days and with provide education programs and hands-on experiences.

To me, enjoying the night sky and celebrating the captivating beauty of our planet and the system above us in the Badlands is the perfect combination. Another cool thing about the festival is that it will not require any advance tickets or registration.

If you’re planning on being in South Dakota and near the area during this time frame, I would highly recommend checking this festival out – unless it’s completely down-pouring, I doubt you’ll be disappointed. On any given night in the Badlands, you can expect to see more than 7,500 stars – pretty spectacular – especially for visitors who may live in a large city and rarely see any stars at night!

For more information on the event, please visit their webpage.


The fourth season of free weekly tours at the South Dakota Governor’s Mansion will begin next month.

First Lady Linda Daugaard said she and the Governor are happy to again open the home on the shore of Capitol Lake to the public.

“The Governor’s mansion belongs to the people of South Dakota, and Dennis and I invite every South Dakotan to enjoy this special home,” Mrs. Daugaard said. “We are pleased to host a fourth year of summer tours, and will have some special items on display in honor of the state’s 125th anniversary this year.”


Beginning June 4, weekly public tours will be conducted each Wednesday in June, July and August.

The 30-minute tours will begin at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. CDT and will be conducted by volunteers, including the First Lady. Tour groups will consist of up to 30 people.

Public tour tickets, at no charge, must be obtained in advance and will be available only from the Pierre Chamber of Commerce. Those interested in a tour should call the Chamber at 605-224-7361.




by Katlyn Richter on April 14, 2014 · 0 comments

Award-winning illustrator Donald F. Montileaux has put another ancient Lakota tale to paper. Tasunka: A Lakota Horse Legend features a Lakota translation by Agnes Gay and is the newest children’s book from the South Dakota State Historical Society. It is a story of adventure, discovery, loss and renewal, set to beautiful ledger-style illustrations that illuminate the story of the horse and its importance to the plains people.


Tasunka: A Lakota Horse Legend uses traditional storytelling methods to impart wisdom to new generations. Readers journey with a young warrior as he tracks a strange new creature across the plains. Far from home, he discovers beasts that run as swift as the wind and shimmer with many colors. The young Lakota warrior captures and tames them, and his people grow rich and powerful. Then the Great Spirit, who gave the gift of the horse, takes it away.


“This book is an important addition to our collection of stories for children. Don has created a visually stunning work of art and, together with Agnes Gay, has preserved a piece of Lakota culture,” says Nancy Tystad Koupal, Director of the South Dakota Historical Society Press.


Donald F. Montileaux is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Nation. Tasunka is the first time he has worked with the South Dakota State Historical Society as both an author and an illustrator. Montileaux contributed artwork to the multi-award winning South Dakota Historical Society Press book, Tatanka and the Lakota People: A Creation Story, and illustrated The Enchanted Buffalo, part of the Press’s Prairie Tale series. An award-winning artist, illustrator, presenter, and consultant on Lakota culture, he uses his art to tell traditional Lakota stories. Montileaux lives in Rapid City, South Dakota, with his family. He dedicates Tasunka to Alex White Plume, who provided the catalyst for the book.


Tasunka: A Lakota Horse Legend is available for $19.95 plus shipping and tax and can be purchased from most bookstores or ordered directly from the South Dakota Historical Society Press. Visit www.sdshspress.com, email orders@sdshspress.com, or call (605) 773-6009. Tasunka is appropriate for first- to fourth-grade readers or as a book to be read aloud to younger children.


Posted in History

Winter in Deadwood

by Katlyn Richter on March 6, 2014 · 0 comments

If you’ve been watching the news, or living it yourself, you know that winter in the Midwest isn’t over yet! However, there’s a place in South Dakota that you can make the best of the season. A stay in Deadwood puts you close to lots of winter action in the Black Hills.

Whether it’s skiing or snowboarding at Terry Peak or Mystic Miner, or cruisin’ on a snowmobile on the hundreds of miles of trails, outdoor adventure abounds in this mountain town. It is expected to have a good snowpack for winter sports until at least early April.

There’s plenty to do indoors too – there are more than 80 gaming halls in Historic Deadwood, and museums to explore. If you’re up for a drive, the scenic highways in the winter will take your breath away.

Also in Deadwood, you can find unique events in the winter months. Deadwood is always a great host to St. Patrick’s Day events: pub crawls, Leprechaun Olympics, parades, music, and food will all delight visitors! For a complete schedule of events during St. Patrick’s Day weekend, click here.


I recently was able to spend time in Chamberlain, a community that sits along the Missouri River in South Dakota. I’ve been through and stopped in Chamberlain dozens of times in my life, but I hadn’t ever had the time to stop to explore and give it the discovery time it deserved.

I drove in on an early fall morning taking the back roads from Pierre. Dozens of pheasants showed their beautiful colors alongside the road, knowing they were still safe before opening pheasant weekend arrived in a few weeks. The river winded to and fro carving out beautiful landscapes in the distance. It was a beautiful and relaxing drive.

Arriving in Chamberlain, I first checked out the downtown which was host to many cute shops and restaurants. The South Dakota Hall of Fame was first on my list of places to see followed by lunch at the classic Al’s Oasis – buffalo burger it is! As a South Dakotan, you’re bound to recognize a face or two in their large dining room. By the way, don’t skip the pie while you’re there.

The highlight of the trip for me however, was the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center. It sits on the pristine grounds of St. Joseph’s Indian School. The museum serves as an educational outreach portion of the school. Inside is a collection of art, artifacts and educational displays that proudly showcase the heritage of the Lakota people.


For me, it was more than a museum. The recent updates to the museum made it feel as though I was re-living history step-by-step. The format made the information very easy to digest and understand. The octagon shaped building allows you to embark on a circular tour exploring the Camp Circle, Two Worlds Meet, Broken Promises, and Continuity and Change sections of the museum.

A new component to the museum is a very interactive section called Tokéya uŋkí nájiŋpi (We Stood Here in the Beginning). This new center depicts the lives of students who have attended St. Joseph’s Indian School in the past and present. Students from the school often come to the museum to discover the history of the students who attended the school before them. The exhibits are engaging, interesting and very interactive. An audio tour is available for guests or visitors can join guided tours at 10:30 and 1:30 Monday through Saturday.

Inside is also a renowned collection of Lakota, Dakota and Nakota art, including a must-see painting “The Alter” by Bobby Penn who was influenced by Harvey Dunn.  The collection of art by Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota artists is impressive.

This was one of my favorite museums that I have been to in a long time – it’s now a favorite part of Chamberlain for me and I plan to get back frequently as there was so much information to take in for just one visit.