October through April
Monday - Friday 12-4 pm
and mornings and weekends by appointment
May through September
Monday - Friday 9 am-4 pm
Weekends 1-4 pm
Our archivist is available Monday-Friday or by appointment.
The collections in our unique museum tell our community's stories. Heritage Hall Museum has over 25,000 square feet of displays to explore. There is something for everyone!
Many of those who settled in this part of southeastern Dakota Territory were German-speaking immigrants who left Russia for new opportunities in America. Displays trace their immigration and the challenges they faced as they moved to a new and untamed land. Immigrant trunks, diaries, and a variety of artifacts they brought with them, give us a glimpse of what life was like for these immigrants.
Ten years before South Dakota became a state, the settlement of Freeman began when the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad extended a line westward through the area in 1879, bringing a variety of businesses, goods and opportunities. A general store, doctor’s office, dentist’s office, local banks, printing press and even the town jail are represented in the museum.
The land on which our European immigrant forebears settled is the traditional homeland of many other peoples, including the Yankton Sioux Nation. We honor their culture, their heritage and their continuing connection to the land, water and community. Displays feature arrow heads and early tools, clothing and artwork. Children especially enjoy our brain-tanned buffalo hide and winter count.
Pioneers had to be creative and resourceful when they arrived on the prairie. Once the railroad arrived, settlers could purchase basic goods without traveling the 30 miles south to the Territorial capital of Yankton. A parlor display, a summer kitchen, an outhouse, and countless household artifacts illustrate the everyday lives of the early settlers.
Settlers generally began their lives in South Dakota with just a wagon and a plow, but times changed quickly. Trace the development of agricultural implements and transportation vehicles in this area. Tractors, cars, motorcycles, and even a 1927 Lincoln-Page biplane are part of our exhibit.
Animals of all kinds have made South Dakota home, and visitors can get a close-up look at some of the species that lived in Southeast South Dakota in our natural history display.
Heritage Hall Museum and Archives strives to preserve, educate and foster appreciation for the diverse natural and cultural history of the greater Freeman area, settled largely by Germans from Russia in the 1870s.
Heritage Hall Museum welcomes individuals and families, as well as school and tour groups. Large groups are encouraged to call ahead to arrange for guides as needed.
We’re not the easiest place to find, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with Freeman.
• If you’re coming to Freeman on Highway 81, heading south, turn right (west) on North County Road (278th St.); Dollar General is near the intersection. Continue one mile west, turn left on Cedar Street (438th Ave.) and continue south about 3/4 mile. Turn left (east) on Arboretum Drive; you’ll see the museum to the east/southeast.
• If you heading north on Highway 81, turn left (west) on South County Road (279th St.); the Tienda Centoamerica restaurant is near the intersection. Continue one mile west, turn right on Cedar Street (438th Ave.) and continue north about 1/4 mile. Turn right (east) on Arboretum Drive; you’ll see the museum to the east/southeast.
• If you’re inside the city of Freeman, head toward Seventh and Juniper Street on the southwestern side of the residential and business district. Traveling south on Juniper Street will lead you to the Freeman Academy campus. Continue south through the parking lot. A driveway between Pioneer Hall and Frontier Hall will take you to a gravel parking lot that borders the Prairie Arboretum and our museum complex. You’ll see our large maroon and cream building on the east side of the parking lot.
If you’re using a navigational system, our address is 880 S. Cedar, Freeman, SD 57029.
Copyright © Heritage Hall Museum & Archives | 605.929.7545 | firstname.lastname@example.org | PO Box 693, 880 S Cedar St, Freeman, SD 57029
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Heritage Hall Museum in Freeman, South Dakota tells the story of the German-from-Russia immigrants and others who settled in southeastern Dakota Territory in the 1870s. Our South Dakota museum has over 20,000 historical items on display!