Outreach Programs

History Comes to You!

Education Services Booklet

Because you can’t always leave the classroom, and because we love to hit the road, we’ve developed several free programs we can bring to your school or community group within Minnehaha County, and the Tea and Harrisburg school districts. Please call the Education Department at (605) 978-7015 to schedule a program at your school three to six weeks in advance. These programs are a big hit with students and educators! Availability is subject to change due to COVID-19. Some programs may be done virtually.

Historic Bus Tours
Out and about in Sioux Falls?  Let one of our educators be your guide!  Our staff can serve as a “step-on” guide to lead your group on a bus ride around Sioux Falls.  Learn the intriguing history of sites you pass by every day!

Bus tours are temporarily unavailable.

Tours include:

  • Wallace Dow’s Sioux Falls
  • Sioux Falls Landmarks
  • Sioux Falls on the Move
  • Early Sioux Falls Parks
  • Early Churches of Sioux Falls
  • Historic Markers
  • Early Cemeteries of Sioux Falls
  • Early Sioux Falls Quarry Sites
  • Old School Education

Historic Walking Tours
Are you interested in learning more about early Sioux Falls residents?  Are your students studying architecture and design?  We can lead your group on a guided tour through downtown Sioux Falls, one of our historic neighborhoods, or one of the city’s early cemeteries!

Tours include:

  • Cathedral Neighborhood
  • McKennan Park Neighborhood (North and South)
  • Phillips Avenue
  • Warehouse District
  • Ft. Dakota
  • Woodlawn and Mt. Pleasant Cemeteries
  • Railroad Depots
  • East Bank

Beer: Brewed, Bottled, and Banned
Using historic photos and images, this PowerPoint presentation examines the importance of beer throughout history.  Learn about the brewing process, the history of the Sioux Falls Brewing Company, early alcohol regulation, and prohibition.

Sioux Falls’ First Museum:  The Pettigrew Home and Museum
This PowerPoint presentation encourages you to take a closer look at the Pettigrew Home and Museum.  Historic photos and images tell the story of the founding, history, and restoration of the home and museum of South Dakota’s first full term senator, Richard F. Pettigrew.

Cruisin’ Cuisine: Drive Ins of Sioux Falls
Cruising, carhops, and curb-side service were the highlights of the drive-in restaurant era.  Learn about the many Sioux Falls drive-ins through the historic photos and images in this PowerPoint presentation.

East Side Story: The Legend of a Quarry Town
Grades 3 – Adult; ~ 40 minutes

Applicable to 3rd Grade History and Economics Standards
East Sioux Falls was a quarry town located 6 miles east of Sioux Falls. Through historic photos, this presentation looks at the rise and fall of the company town and discusses the importance of the quarry industry to this area.

Gaze into the night sky in our portable planetarium and discover the secrets of the seasonal constellations. Starlab gives students the tools to begin their own sky exploration. Starlab encompasses astronomy and mythology and is applicable to science and history standards.

Programs are offered to the public for $2 per person but are FREE to scheduled school groups.

  • Each Starlab presentation lasts approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
  • We can accommodate up to 25 people per program.
  • Starlab is suitable for ages 5 and older.
  • Call 367-4210 ext. 3016 to schedule a program. We recommend calling three weeks in advance for best times.

If you live outside of Sioux Falls and can’t come to Starlab, Starlab could come to you! Fees may apply outside Minnehaha County. Please call for space and setup requirements.

Starlab is temporarily unavailable.

Discovering the Fur Trade
Grades 3 – 5; ~45-60 minutes

Bring the Fur Trade to life in your classroom!  Students will learn the chief players and the economics of the trade and will have a chance to see and touch many furs and reproduction trade goods.

Lakota Tipi
Grades K- adult; 30 – 45 minutes
Students learn how buffalo hides and lodge pole pine trees were used to construct an efficient, portable home and will help erect a three-foot tipi with a tanned hide cover. This is an excellent exercise in teamwork, history, and cultural awareness. Our popular Tipi program can be done at the museum, or it can come to you! Bring this fun, hands-on program to your class.

Lakota Tipi
Lakota Tipi

Civil War Soldier – A Living History
Grades 4 – adult; 30 – 45 minutes
Are your students wondering what life was like for a Civil War soldier? Let them ask one! A historically attired Civil War re-enactor will visit your students and describe his equipment, clothing, and life. He will talk about his service in the Union Army during the Civil War and/or his service with the Army on the Dakota Frontier in the mid-1860s. This is a great way to bring this reality of history to your classroom.

Then and Now: Our Legacy
Grades 3 – adult; 40 minutes
This presentation explores the history of Sioux Falls from the 1860s to 1900 by comparing historic photographs of the city to contemporary images.

Exposed: Behind the Lens of L. T. Butterfield
Grades 3 – Adult; 45 minutes
Leroy T. Butterfield worked in Sioux Falls during the late 19th century as an indoor portrait photographer. When time and weather permitted, Butterfield took his equipment outdoors and produced photographs of Sioux Falls and the surrounding area.. His photographs captured the activity and vitality of the growing city, including details which are often lost in the posed portraiture of the time. This presentation uses Butterfield’s photos to illustrate a snapshot in time (1885-1895) and the development of the Sioux Falls area.

Historic Tours
High School-Adult
Are your students studying architecture and design?  Let us lead you on a guided tour through downtown Sioux Falls or one of our historic neighborhoods.  Learn about the early people history of Sioux Falls as you examine the beautiful architecture they created.

Artifact Show-and-Tell
Ages Vary
Are you studying a specific period of time in history and you would like to bring “the real thing” to your classroom?  Give us a call; we may be able to help!  With over 100,000 artifacts in the collection, the museum staff can bring history to life in your classroom through a virtual artifact show-and-tell program.

Sioux Falls Architects
High School – Adult; ~ 60 minutes
As we look around our city today, we see buildings in all shapes and sizes from different points in our past and present.  Wallace Dow, Joseph Schwarz, and the partnership of Perkins and McWayne were prominent local architects who designed many of the structures we still enjoy today. This Power Point presentation discusses some of the many buildings designed by these men as well as their architectural styles.

Pioneer Experience
Grade 2 – Adult
Bring a pioneer to your classroom! An educator dressed in historic clothing will visit with your students about what it was like to homestead in Dakota. First-hand accounts from diaries and letters as well as historic reproduction props will be used to tell the pioneer story. This is a great way to bring history to life for your students.

Pioneer Discovery
Grades Pre/1st Grade
Show your students what it was like to be a child in pioneer times! One of our educators will visit your classroom dressed in pioneer clothing. A short story about pioneer life will be followed by the opportunity to see, touch, and explore items used by pioneers.

Pioneer Discovery is temporarily unavailable.

The Story of Minnehaha County
Grades 3-Adult
Applicable to 3rd Grade History Standards
Learn about our local history through photographs! Using both historic and contemporary images, this PowerPoint presentation tells the history of Minnehaha County, Its towns, and people.