Tours help patrons learn what?s in the Ag Museum


Museums began in the 17th century as a way for the wealthy to keep rare, curious or precious artifacts and collections. By 1800, when museums opened in Europe to the public, people sometimes waited for as long as two weeks to gain access to view items they had on display.

Patrons of the State Agricultural Heritage Museum won’t have to wait to see how agricultural life and heritage in South Dakota is preserved. Limited numbers of people can be part of “behind the scenes tours” of the museum during the last week of April.

Pre-registration is needed, though, in order to maintain a comfortably sized group.

Tours times and dates for groups of a maximum of 15 people are set from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16; and 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 18.

The tours offer the public the opportunity to explore the mysteries of the museum. Typically, museums only have about 10 percent or less of their collection on exhibit at any one time.

“Most of the tour includes the non-public access side of the museum and historical information about the building itself,” said Agricultural Heritage Museum Curator Carrie Van Buren.

“We are housed in one of the few historic buildings on campus,” she said. “Many older folks remember this building as a classroom or the place where they came to buy meat.”

The structure was built in 1918 as the Stock Judging Pavilion and served as the primary livestock teaching facility at State until 1977.

Children 10 years of age and older as well as mobile adults can take part in the tours. Registrants must be able to climb stairs, walk approximately two blocks and stand on uneven ground.