FREEMAN: Heritage Hall Museum & Archives (HHM&A) is offering special programs in conjunction with the 2022 South Dakota Chislic Festival. The festival will be held at the Prairie Arboretum, which is immediately south of the museum complex on Saturday, July 30.
A Silver Sponsor of the festival, the museum will be open extended hours that day; from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and will also be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. the previous day, Friday, July 29.
Here's a quick look at the special activities planned for Saturday.
• A "sneak peek" at the restoration project of the historic 1879 Deckert House is planned from 1 to 3. It will include a visit with Ryan Mews, a summer intern student from the University of South Dakota, who is doing extensive research about the house and the Deckert family. The house, which has been closed for restoration for several years, will officially reopen later this year.
• Another "sneak peek" comes at the major renovation of the museum's Natural World Gallery from 3 to 5. It will include the mosasaur exhibit slated to open this fall as well as a visit with local artist Michelle L. Hofer and her daughter, Madeline, – also a summer intern and a student at Dordt College – who are assisting with display elements in the gallery as well as Curator Terry Quam and Terry Waterman, a museum board member who's helped with the mosasaur project.
• Lindy Graber, a local collector, will be on hand Saturday afternoon to visit with visitors about the museum's motorcycle and bicycle display, which includes a 1914 Indian Motorcycle and a circa 1880 "Penny Farthing."
• Terry Graber, a Freeman native now living in Kansas, will be sharing details about the Pine Hill Printery exhibit Saturday afternoon. Graber, who is familiar with the printing industry, is a grandson of John C. Gering, who established the printing company that operated in the Freeman community for most of the 20th century.
• Visitors will also have opportunity to see recent renovations at the historic Johannesthal Reformed Church that is part of the museum complex.
• A newly created chislic display in the Kauffman Wing of the museum.
Museum visitors are invited to take advantage of an all-day "premier parking" option the museum is offering during the Chislic Festival. With the museum complex adjacent to the festival, a portion of the grounds has been designated for parking on the 30th starting at 9 a.m. Space, which is limited, must be reserved by contacting the museum.
The 2022 South Dakota Chislic Festival which began in 2018, celebrates the unique "meat on a stick" delicacy tied to Germans from Russia who brought the dish with them when they settled in the region in the 1870s. The museum, which is an independent, non-profit organization, tells that immigration story and the perseverance that led to the establishment of the Freeman community.
The one-day Chislic Festival features food and non-food vendors, live music and a family-friendly fair-like atmosphere from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Marnette D. (Ortman) Hofer, executive director and archivist of HHM&A and Ian Tuttle, a member of the SDCF Board from Bellevue, Neb., will be presenting the history of chislic festival in presentations on the festival grounds at 11 a.m., 1, 3 and 5 p.m. titled "From Russia with Love; the History of Chislic."
Although there is an admission fee to tour the museum, the mercantile, which features a wide variety of items from local artisans and authors, is open to the public at no charge. People are welcome to call 605-925-7545 or email email@example.com for more information or go online to heritagehallmuseum.com and to the Heritage Hall Museum and Archives Facebook page.
The museum is open daily from May through September. Summer hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays and 1- 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from May through September. The museum is open weekday afternoons from October through April and is always also open by appointment.
In addition to welcoming people to attend the July 10 program on local nicknames, Heritage Hall Museum & Archives has announced it will also livestream the presentation.
The program will be presented at Salem-Zion Mennonite Church east of Freeman starting at 3 p.m. Sunday. Ellen Ortman will be sharing her research and compilation of common, popular – and some more obscure – nicknames, in a program titled "A Century and a Half of East Freeman Nicknames." Ortman, a lifelong community resident, is a regular volunteer at the museum archives.
"We wanted to offer people who are unable to attend – or choose to participate remotely – that option," says Marnette D. (Ortman) Hofer, executive director and archivist at the Freeman museum. "We're thrilled that technology is giving us this option for our programming." Anyone who wants to participate live remotely can sign up – including paying admission – at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/377400243287.
Anyone who has questions can contact the museum; phone 605-925-7545 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Admission will be charged; HHM&A members receive a discounted rate.
The museum is open 9-4 weekdays and 1-4 weekends. On Saturday, July 9 the museum has extended hours and will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., in conjunction with the MCC Relief Sale scheduled at neighboring Freeman Academy that day.
FREEMAN: Heritage Hall Museum & Archives is inviting all area teachers to visit as their guests this summer.
“We’re offering free admission to teachers in the larger community this summer to give them an inside look at what we have to offer,” said Marnette D. (Ortman) Hofer, executive director & archivist at the Freeman museum.
“We want to be a partner in education for our area youth,” she said. “A visit here can help ‘unlock history’ for students in the 2022-23 school year. We’ll be glad to provide a personalized tour to any teacher who wants to learn more this summer.”
The museum has 25,000 square feet of galleries containing a wide array of interesting artifacts and exhibits. The exhibits tell the immigration story of Germans-from-Russia settlers, and others, who arrived in southeastern Dakota Territory in the 1870s, persevered and helped build the Freeman community.
“With more than 20,000 artifacts, our exhibits are an excellent resource for studies on South Dakota and Native American history,” Hofer noted. Galleries include a Native American Winter Count, Steven R. Riggs collection and Standing Bear exhibit.
Other exhibits include a 1927 bi-plane, a horse-drawn hearse, general store, town jail, summer kitchen, print shop, service station, vintage cars and motorcycles and agricultural equipment.
“Our updated natural world exhibit, featuring flora and fauna and geology and a mosasaur fossil, is slated to open by the start of the school year,” she said.
“We also have four historical buildings that bring history to life, including a one-room country school that can offer a unique ‘historical’ classroom experience for up to 25 students. We also have two churches and a recently restored 1887 pioneer home.
“Although the museum is designed as a self-touring experience, we can arrange for guided tours,” Hofer said. “We also have staff that is available to work with you on developing a specifically tailored experience for your class. We have created activities for our younger guests year-round that can be adapted for specific groups.”
The museum offers group rates and will work to accommodate your schedule,” Hofer said. “Although our public October-April hours are noon-4, we will gladly open our doors to accommodate school schedules.”
“The history of this part of South Dakota is rich and diverse. We believe that students and educators alike will be fascinated by what they can discover at our museum. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Call 605-925-7545 or email email@example.com. You can also learn more online at https://heritagehallmuseum.com.
“We look forward to welcoming teachers for a complimentary tour,” Hofer said. The museum is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and by appointment.
FREEMAN: Heritage Hall Museum & Archives will resume its summer Family-Friendly Final Fridays May 27. The museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, and will continue those extended evening hours the last Friday of every month through September.
“We’re offering Family-Friendly Final Fridays to encourage families to visit the museum,” says Marnette (Ortman) Hofer, executive director and archivist at HHM&A.. “We’re admitting all children 12 and under free those evenings when accompanied by a paying adult.” “We’ve got lots of interesting things for people of all ages to see,” she said. “That includes the model train exhibit that we’ll have running those Friday evenings as well as our popular ‘20 Questions’ activity for kids and families.”
She added that the mercantile will be offering specials those Fridays.
The museum’s regular summer hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Those hours continue through September. For more information, feel free to call 605-925-7545.
FREEMAN: Heritage Hall Museum & Archives started its summer hours on May 1. The museum is open daily through September – from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Winter hours are weekday afternoons only with other times by appointment.
Located south of the Freeman Academy campus and sitting on the northern edge of the 40-acre Prairie Arboretum, the Freeman museum tells the story of Germans-from-Russia immigrants and others who settled in southeastern Dakota Territory in the 1870s. The museum has 25,000 square feet of displays featuring everything from old cars and buggies to Native American artifacts to agricultural equipment to local business history to household items and musical instruments. The complex also includes four historic buildings: a one-room schoolhouse, two early rural churches and an 1879 pioneer home.
"We're excited for what looks like a busy summer," says Marnette D. (Ortman) Hofer, executive director and archivist of HHM&A. "We have a number of groups planning to visit in the upcoming months and a number of major events that will bring other guests to our community. We'll be expanding our hours to accommodate them.
"Of course," she added, "we are always happy to welcome individuals and families who make spontaneous visits,"
In fact, the museum is once again offering a special incentive to families to visit.
"Starting April 30, we will be open until 7 p.m., the last Friday of every month," Hofer said. "We initiated our "Family-Friendly Final Fridays" last year to encourage families to visit the museum and we're continuing that this year. We're admitting all children 12 and under free those evenings when accompanied by a paying adult."
In addition, she said, "that includes a fun 'discover more about your museum' activity for kids – with a chance to win a prize." The "final Friday" promotions will continue through September.
"Visitors who have not been to the museum since last fall will discover some major renovations," Hofer said. "While the exterior 'facelift' was completed last summer, we've also made some significant changes inside over the past six months."
That includes a significant expansion of the mercantile that features the work of local artisans.
"We've added the creations of more than a dozen new artisans to our inventory," Hofer said. "We are very pleased with the way our gift shop continues to grow and we've been able to open up the space to display these unique creations.
The renovations at the museum also include several exhibit areas.
"We've reallocated the exhibit space nearest to the lobby that was home to our Fine Arts Gallery to our Faith Traditions Gallery, Hofer said. "We've moved a number of large faith-related artifacts that were scattered elsewhere in the museum to this space. The exhibit is now open and we are adding additional elements to help tell the story of the various denominations reflected in the immigrants who settled here in the 1870s."
The fine arts exhibit will be incorporated in restructured exhibits in the Kauffman Wing, she said.
Another area that is undergoing major renovation is the Natural World Gallery. New walls have been constructed and a major redesign of that area of the museum includes introducing the mosasaur exhibit that is currently being developed.
"We're looking forward to opening some of the elements in this gallery this summer," Hofer said. "We have some exciting developments that we're hoping to share in the upcoming weeks."
Another new element, Hofer said, is the addition of two summer interns to the museum staff.
Madeline Hofer, a local first-year student at Dordt University, will be helping with developing our digital media program. Ryan Mews, whose family lives in the Clayton area, is in the masters program at the University of South Dakota. His focus will be to research and help complete the Deckert House renovation project, slated to open by end of the summer.
Heritage Hall Museum & Archives traces its roots back to the winter term of Freeman College in 1911, but today operates as an independent, non-profit organization.
Although there is an admission fee to tour the museum, both the archives and the mercantile are open to the public at no charge. People are welcome to call 605-925-7545 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or go online to heritagehallmuseum.com and to the Heritage Hall Museum and Archives Facebook page.
The Faith Traditions Gallery is among recent changes at Heritage Hall Museum & Archives.
FREEMAN: Last week Heritage Hall Museum & Archives (HHM&A) received notice that the organization has been granted official status as a 501(c)(3) public charity.
Marnette D. (Ortman) Hofer, executive director of HHM&A, said "this means we are now exempt from federal income tax, and donors can deduct contributions made to us under IRC Section 170.
"It also means there are grant and funding opportunities open to us now that we did not have access to before," Hofer said.
She noted the status is retroactive to July 20, 2021, so all contributions made after that date are tax-deductible.
This is the final step in the museum's efforts to become an independent organization, Hofer said.
"Prior to our divestment from the Freeman Junior College/Freeman Academy Corporation, which was finalized this past summer, gifts to the museum were tax-deductible through Freeman Academy as our umbrella organization. While we appreciate and deeply value our shared history with FJC/FA, we are excited about our new beginning and the possibilities before us."
The divestment process began with discussions in 2017 with both the museum and Freeman Academy leadership agreeing to explore the future relationship of the two organizations.
The museum board and staff supported a move to independence. Discussions between the two boards led to a vote by the Freeman Junior College/Freeman Academy Corporation in the fall of 2019 that gave strong approval for divestment. That initiated a lengthy transition process including drawing up articles of incorporation for the museum as an independent organization. It included the transfer of ownership of all the artifacts, materials in the archives and historic buildings to the new organization. It also includes a lease agreement in which Freeman Academy retains ownership of the property and the building that is home to the museum. Although the museum has been officially registered as a not-for-profit organization in South Dakota for some time, the official federal designation completes the process.
"We have been humbled by the overwhelming support people have shown us and we look forward to continuing our mission to preserve and celebrate the history of the greater Freeman area," Hofer said. "We value all contributions to our efforts, whether they are monetary gifts or gifts of your time as volunteers or through the research and stories you share."
The museum, archives and mercantile are open from noon to 4 p.m., weekdays through April. Summer hours begin in May; the museum is open daily from May through September.
The museum is closed holidays during the winter months. That includes being closed Dec. 24-27 and Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. Regular winter hours resume Jan. 3.
More information is available at https://heritagehallmuseum.com or by calling 605-925-7545.
FREEMAN: Dr. Nathan Bates, a University of South Dakota professor, told a group of about two-dozen people at the Bethel Church Saturday evening, Oct. 30, that he’s thrilled with what he’s discovered at Heritage Hall Museum & Archives (HHM&A).
Bates, who spent time poring through the archives this summer, told the crowd he’s planning to incorporate the resources here into his German language curriculum at USD in Vermillion. The program was sponsored by HHM&A, which operates as an independent not-for-profit organization. Bates received a grant from the South Dakota Humanities Council for this project.
The archives are providing Bates with stories, personal histories and journals, documents, books and audio recordings that will help expand students’ perspectives on the impact use of German has had in shaping community life and development.
Bates singled out three examples that have caught his attention thus far.
• Daniel Unruh’s Arithmetic Book, dated 1833 and which he used in Russia, which includes bright graphic designs and notes about family history.
• A pamphlet written in 1926 by J. John Friesen, a professor at Freeman College, advocating for the use of German in the Freeman community because, in part, it represents “the higher moral ground of German culture.
• Correspondence between F.C. Ortman of Freeman and John R. Thierstein of Bluffton, Ohio in which they discuss their views about German in the World War I era.
Each, in its own way, offers insights into the attitudes and practices that were an important part of community life in the decades following the arrival of the Germans from Russia in the 1870s, Bates said.
Bates says he plans to return to continue and expand his research and have his students use the archives as a resource for their studies. That, he said, will allow them to make connections between South Dakota and the global community.
“It’s not just language,” he said. “It’s a passport to the larger world.”
The wealth of what is available in the archives and their proximity to Vermillion makes Freeman an ideal partner for his program and he’s eager to see what that will provide.
“I’m enthusiastically diving into the deep end of the pool,” he said.
In mid-August the U.S. Census Bureau released additional 2020 Census results that include county population totals. The report shows that the population in Hutchinson, McCook and Turner counties all increased slightly. The total population of the three counties now stands at 21,782, up 2.2 from 2010s 21,308
Initial results from the United States 2020 Census Bureau were announced the last week of April. They show the United States has a population of 331,449,281. An increase of 7.4% from the 2010 Census, it's the second-smallest increase since 1790, when the first census was conducted.
"We were interested in the South Dakota trends, particularly local counties," says Tim L. Waltner, communication/education coordinator at Heritage Hall Museum & Archives in Freeman.
"While the state population grew by 72,487, statewide 33 – exactly half of the state's 66 counties – lost population," he said. "Most of that came in Lincoln, Minnehaha and Pennington counties – Sioux Falls and Rapid City, the three counties with the largest populations in the state.
Lincoln (#3), at 65,161, is up 45.4%; Minnehaha (#1), at 197,214, is up 16.2%; Pennington #2), at 109,222, is up 8.2%
Hutchinson, McCook and Turner counties were among those that gained population, although at a significantly lower rate than the "big three."
Hutchinson County, at 7,427, is up 1.1% from 7,343. McCook County, at 5,682, is also up 1.1% from 5,618. Turner County shows the largest of the local three; 8,673, up 3.9% from 8,347. That reflects its proximity to rapidly growing Minnehaha and Lincoln counties.
"We also took a closer look at the population trends since immigrants arrived here in the 1870s." he said. "In a nutshell, population in Hutchinson, McCook and Turner counties grew steadily until the 1930s. The total of the three-county area in the 1930 Census was 39,111. The 2020 Census reveals it has steadily declined to 21,782, a loss of 44% of the population over the last 90 years."
"It's a fascinating trend, reflected in the accompanying graphics," he said.
That reflects a combination of fewer farms, smaller families and outmigration – primarily young people, Waltner said.
The 2020 Census reveals changes in the size and distribution of the population across the United States. The population of U.S. metro areas grew by 9% from 2010 to 2020, resulting in 86% of the population living in U.S. metro areas in 2020, compared to 85% in 2010.
"Many counties within metro areas saw growth, especially those in the south and west. However, as we've been seeing in our annual population estimates, our nation is growing slower than it used to," said Marc Perry, a senior demographer at the Census Bureau. "This decline is evident at the local level where around 52% of the counties in the United States saw their 2020 Census populations decrease from their 2010 Census populations."
It showed that the adult (age 18 and older) population group grew 10.1% to 258.3 million people over the decade.
"More than three-quarters, 77.9%, of the U.S. population were age 18 and over," said Andrew Roberts, chief of the Sex and Age Statistics Branch in the Census Bureau's Population Division. "The adult population grew faster than the nation as a whole. By comparison, the population under age 18 was 73.1 million in 2020, a decline of 1.4% from the 2010 Census."
Additional details, including small-town populations, will be available in 2020 Census data releases scheduled for later this year.
It's the start of a new school year and Heritage Hall Museum & Archives (HHM&A) is extending an invitation to educators across southeastern South Dakota to use the museum as a classroom for their students.
A letter recently sent to regional educators notes, "Heritage Hall Museum & Archives is filled with great history and more than 25,000 square feet of a wide array of interesting artifacts and exhibits. The items in our museum tell the immigration story of settlers who arrived in southeastern Dakota Territory in the 1870s, persevered and helped build the Freeman community.
"With more than 20,000 artifacts, our exhibits are an excellent resource for studies on South Dakota and Native American history."
Tim L. Waltner, whose responsibilities at HHM&A include working with the museum’s educational program, said the idea isn’t new; area schools have scheduled field trips as part of their studies over the years.
"But with concerns about Covid-19, that didn't happen last year," he said. "We’re looking forward to welcoming students back this year." However, he added, the museum continues to follow CDC guidelines to ensure all guests feel safe when visiting.
"The history of this part of South Dakota is rich and diverse," he said. "We believe that students and educators alike will be fascinated by what they can discover at our museum.” The museum has developed special interactive activities for youth throughout the year and Waltner said museum staff will adapt them to fit specific requests from educators.
The museum staff includes Terry Quam, a retired school administrator who is curator and part of the team that can help create a unique classroom experience for visiting students.
"We're looking forward to partnering with teachers in developing specific curriculum as part of a special focus or age group," Waltner said.
"Our 1927 bi-plane, the horse-drawn hearse and ice coffin, our general store, town jail, summer kitchen, print shop, doctor and dentist offices, vintage cars and motorcycles, and agriculture exhibits tell stories of the Germans-from-Russia immigrants who settled in this region nearly 150 years ago,” he said. “Plus, we’ve got a working model railroad.”
The complex includes two large exhibit halls, two historic churches and a one-room country school that can be used literally as a classroom. A historic 1879 home is under restoration and scheduled to open in spring.
The neighboring Prairie Arboretum offers a complementary experience for both education and recreation.
The museum offers special package admission options for schools to make field trips affordable and will recognize businesses and organizations who sponsor/underwrite school trips to the museum.
“We’re happy to give teachers a complimentary tour of the museum to see what we have to offer,” Waltner said. “Just give us a call.”
To learn more about the museum's school program, call 605-925-7545 or email email@example.com.
The Diamond Valley School, which was located a mile and a half south of Freeman, was moved to Freema
2020 census shows steady three-decade increase in South Dakota population
Initial results from the United States 2020 Census Bureau were announced the last week of April, showing a total of331,449,281 residents of the United States. That represents an increase of 7.4% from the 2010 count of 308,745,538; it’s the second-smallest decade-long growth rate since the first census was taken in 1790.
The 2020 census shows that 37 of the 50 states grew more slowly in the 2010s than in the previous decade. Three states lost population – Illinois, Mississippi and West Virginia; that the largest number of states that saw a decline since the 1980s.
However, South Dakota was among the 13 states that showed an increase in rate of growth from 2010 to 2020 – 8.9% compared to 7.9% from 2000 to 2010.
“We were curious about how that compares to previous decades,” says Tim L. Waltner, communication/education coordinator at Heritage Hall Museum & Archives in Freeman. “So we did a little digging into the history; that’s what we do. Here’s what we discovered.”
A review of census numbers going back to 1860 shows South Dakota has seen a steady rate of population growth in the past three decades; from 696,004 residents in 1900 to886,667 in 2020.
“But, as the accompanying chart shows,” Waltner says, “the most dramatic increase in population in our history came in the last three decades of the 19th century.” Census figures show that the territory/state grew from 4,837 residents in 1860 to 401,570 residents by 1900. That growth continue until the 1930s when it reached 692,849.
“The Dust Bowl and the economic impact of the Great Depression resulted in many South Dakotans leaving the state,” he said. “The state’s population declined by more than 50,000 – a loss of about 7% between 1930 and 1940. It remained relatively stable for most of the remainder of the century before the steady increase since 1990.”
“But if we want to look at the real big picture of South Dakota’s population,” Waltner said, “that means going back a lot farther.”
The land we know as South Dakota has been home to humans going back several thousand years, he noted. The first inhabitants, Paleoindian hunter-gatherers arrived as glaciers that covered the northern half of the North American continent began to gradually melt. That exposed new land for occupation around 17,500-14,500 years ago. Those Paleoindian hunter-gatherers disappeared from the area around 5000 BC. Later residents included the Mound Builders, Arikara, Hidatsa, Mandan and Sioux (Dakota and Lakota). European contact began in the 1740s, when French explorers and fur traders began exploring the region. In 1762 the region became part of Spanish Louisiana.
In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory and President Thomas Jefferson organized the "Lewis and Clark Expedition" to explore the newly acquired western portion of the country that included what today is South Dakota. An American fur trading post was established at present-day Fort Pierre in 1817; that began American settlement of the region. In 1858 the Yankton Sioux signed the 1858 Treaty, which ceded most of present-day eastern South Dakota to the United States.
Land speculators founded two of eastern South Dakota's largest present-day cities: Sioux Falls in 1856 and Yankton in and 1859.
Dakota Territory was established in 1861 by the United States government (today North Dakota, South Dakota, and parts of Montana and Wyoming). The 1862 Homestead Act drew thousands of European immigrants as well as people from the eastern United States.
“That’s where our community’s story begins,” Waltner said. “The influx of Germans-from Russia-immigrants who settled in Hutchinson, McCook and Turner counties established the larger Freeman community we know today. The arrival of the railroad in 1879 spawned our local towns.”
The 2020 census results are being released in several stages. This first release of total populations for states was scheduled for December 2020. But the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters delayed the release until now. Much more detail about population trends is expected to be shared later this year, including changes in cities and counties.
“We’re eager to learn what that will tell us about our part of South Dakota,” Waltner said. “We look forward to sharing that with folks as well.”
“Our archives are filled with history about the story of our roots, immigration and settling on the prairie nearly 150 years ago. We’re open daily weekdays and weekend afternoons. We’re also open by appointment; call 605-925-7545,” Waltner noted.
A quick look at a few 2020 census numbers
Utah is the fastest-growing state at 18.4 percent compared to 2010.
Idaho is the fastest-growing second at 17.3 percent.
Our neighbor North Dakota grew by 15.8% in the last decade.
West Virginia lost the most population, down 3.2 percent from 2010.
California is the most-populated state at 39,538,223
Texas is the second-most-populated state at 29,145,505
Florida and New York swapped rankings from previous census; Florida is now third and New York fourth in population.
South Dakota remains 46th in population ranking in the United States.
Wyoming is the least-populated state at 576,851.
Vermont is the second-least-populated state at 643,077.
Local author S. Roy Kaufman and HHM&A director Marnette (Ortman) Hofer talk about his latest book.
FREEMAN: For more than a century, Heritage Hall Museum and Archives (HHM&A) has been collecting and sharing the rich history of the greater Freeman community.
But recently, the non-profit organization has been collecting and sharing the rich “present” of the greater Freeman community.
“About a year ago we decided to give local artisans the opportunity to display and sell their wares in our museum,” explains Marnette (Ortman) Hofer, Executive Director and Archivist at HHM&A, which traces its roots back to Freeman College in 1911.
The HHM&A Mercantile was established last year in the lobby of the museum and has expanded in the months that followed. Today, it includes a wide array of items created by people who live here or have ties to the community. For example, you’ll find stained glass from Heidi Schrag, note cards from Polly Waltner and scarves from Kevin Gross. There are knitted items, birdhouses and art prints. There are books by authors who grew up in this community including Rodney Hofer, Jim Kaufman, S. Roy Kaufman and John D. Unruh Jr. You can learn more at heritagehallmuseum.com/museum-mercantile.
“We’re thrilled to support the creativity of these authors and artists,” Hofer says. “Our mission is to preserve and celebrate the lives of the people of this community and this is a natural extension of that mission.”
All items are sold by consignment and proceeds from the sale help support that mission, she explained.
The mercantile also includes T-shirts and notecards from the museum as well as items celebrating the South Dakota Chislic Festival. You can find a sample of items at http://heritagehallmuseum.com/museum-mercantile .
HHM&A is open from noon to 4 p.m., Mondays through Fridays except on holidays; winter hours continue through April. Hours are expanded May through September.
The mercantile and the archives are open to the public at no charge; anyone wanting research assistance is encouraged to call 605-925-7545 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There is an admission fee to tour the museum
HHM&A is taking precautions because of COVID-19. Groups are limited to 10 or less, guests will be staggered and are asked to wear masks.
Additional information about the museum’s history and displays is available online at heritagehallmuseum.com and on the Heritage Hall Museum and Archives Facebook page.
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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!