The collections in our unique South Dakota museum tell our 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.
May through September
Monday - Friday 9 am-4 pm
Weekends 1-4 pm
October through April
Monday - Friday 12-4 pm
(Closed all weekends and holidays.)
The Archivist is available Monday-Friday or by appointment.
Copyright © Heritage Hall Museum & Archives | 605.929.7545 | firstname.lastname@example.org | 800 S Cedar St, Freeman, SD 57029
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Heritage Hall Museum in Freeman is a South Dakota museum which tells the story of the German-Russian immigrants and others who settled in Southeastern Dakota territory in the 1870s.