Welcome to the Dakota Territorial Museum

Dakota Territorial Museum Entrance
Dakota Territorial Museum Front Entrance

The Dakota Territorial Museum, located in West Side Park, Yankton, SD, is owned and operated by the Yankton County Historical Society. The Society was formed in 1961 and the current museum built in 1971. The Yankton County Historical Society, through the Dakota Territorial Museum, exists to preserve, protect, interpret, and educate the public about the heritage and development of the city and county of Yankton, and the surrounding area. Housing memorabilia of early Yankton and Dakota Territory days, including Native American Sioux (Lakota) Indian and Pioneer artifacts, the Museum offers visitors a glimpse into Yankton's rich pioneer history provided through period room exhibits, unique displays and a variety of outbuildings. In addition to the main museum building, outbuildings include the restored Gunderson Rural School House, the Great Northern Railway Depot and a retired Burlington Northern Caboose.

DTM Receives Grant, Volunteers Sought

In December 2012, Crystal received word the Yankton County Historical Society had been awarded a $6,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This grant will be used in the preservation and archiving the historical collections we have at the museum. This grant will also offer us the opportunity for additional training through the hiring of a conservation consultant. In the proposal Crystal stated the “preservation training will be used to recruit and train staff and multi-age volunteers from the community and museum studies programs.”

The Yankton County Historical Society and Dakota Territorial Museum are happy to be the recipients of this grant. As we prepare for the future move, this grant will give us the proper tools and training for the care of our collection.

If you are interested in becoming more involved please let us know. We are always looking for volunteers — especially now that we are preparing for the move. It is a great opportunity to meet people. Give a call at 665-3898, or stop by the museum.


Museum To Host Genealogy Workshops

Want to learn more about your family history but don’t know what to do? Have you been working on stuff but are stuck?
The Dakota Territorial Museum will be hosting three workshops on genealogy. Starting on Feb. 15, 2014, participants will learn the basics of researching family history. We will have Virginia Hanson for the SD State Archives here to help you. She has done genealogy workshops all over the state.
On March 15, Hanson will be back to help expand on what we have already learned. And on April 4, a representative with the SD State Library will be here to talk about resources that are available to you. There are a lot of resources people can use and she will help you walk through them. We will also show you what the museum has available.

More information about times and registration will be coming soon. Please watch the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan and Yankton County Observer.

Calendar of Events:


Reminder No Brown Bag in January.



February 7, 2014
“135 Years of Care: The SD Human
Services Center from its Territorial Roots to the Present”
by Norman Wright

Norman Wright from the Human Services Center will be offering an historical look at the Center over the past 135 years.
He will talk about the historical development of HSC as a mental health hospital in conjunction with its history of the care and treatment of the people who have been served at HSC -- from its establishment as The Dakota Hospital for the Insane in 1879 to the present.
Susan Kudera, HSC librarian, will also be here with a small display of items from the past.

February 15, 2014 - Part One of Genealogy Series


March 7, 2014
Postcards of Our Past
by Doug Fickbohm

While most people are into collecting baseball or football cards, Yankton resident Doug Fickbohm is more interested in antique postcards. During this Brown Bag, Doug will talk about the history of postcards, as well as some of the wonderful cards he has collected over the years.

March 15, 2014 – Part II of Genealogy series



Dakota Territorial Museum Receives Dakota Collections Care Initiative Grant

Check out the Dakota Territorial Museum's Wish List.

Thank You for the following donations:
Embroidery & Screenworks - Garment bags
Sharon Winterringer - File folders & batting
Mike Villanueva - New paper cutter

Any support you can give to this project will be greatly appreciated and tax deductible.


Volunteer Spotlight…Meet Rachel Cure

We would like to introduce you to one of your newest volunteers - Rachel Cure.
Rachel moved to Yankton in June 2013 from Westminster CO, and in August began volunteering at the museum. Originally from Tyndall, Rachel graduated from USD-Springfield with a BS in education with a music major and history minor.
Since coming on board at the museum, Rachel has been busy going through the director and archival files in Crystal’s office. This is no easy task since there are literally hundreds of folders to go through. “I have always been interested in the history of South Dakota, so I find volunteering at the museum very interesting. I am finding new and interesting facts every day,” Rachel says. “I would definitely encourage people to get involved with the museum. It is a great repository of the state’s history.”
We are very grateful for all that Rachel is doing and she has become another member of our museum family.


Additional Links to Check out:

Association of South Dakota Museums

Yankton Chamber of Commerce

Dakota Territorial Museum