A daytrip to Mitchell, SD
Trip Start Jun 05, 2013
3Trip End Aug 08, 2013
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Dakota Discovery Museum
I arrived at the museum doorstep when it opened at 9am. The Dakota Discovery museum was a very enjoyable experience! When I paid my $6 entrance fee I was handed a 97 page guidebook. It took awhile to orient myself on how to use it, but soon I found myself completely immersed in the guidebook. It was fascinating to read about the Sioux, early explorers, and settlers and look up to see intricately beaded dresses and buffalo furs. I don't know if that much reading is for everyone, but I felt like I left with a better understanding of the Dakotas role in America.
Prehistoric Indian Village
Around 10:45 I entered the Indian Village. This was an archeology site of a village abandoned around 1050 A.D. The trail leading down was a little sketchy, but it turned out to be a world class stop. The first part is a museum with a replica earth lodge. I went around and waited for a tour that was supposed to begin. It didn't, so when when I asked about it they set me up to watch a 10 minute video featuring an archeologist who I gathered has spent a lot of time working there. Then because of the low volume of people I had a private tour of the earth lodge. Suddenly the artifacts I had passed by earlier took a whole new shape.
What I found interesting is that these Indians were related to those in Cahokia and moved down the river as that became very populated. I learned about how they stored food and how they threw away garbage (which of course is very interesting to archeologists!). After leaving the museum portion I walked through the Indian Village which of course is a bunch of grass with a few depressions. Then I entered the Dome.
The Dome is a large building covering an area of a home. The walls do not go into the ground, but the pillars do (which had to be excavated first). It was neat to see, and since I had learned so much about them before entering it helped put the holes in the dirt into perspective. Mostly highly reccommended.
I thought I would just take a picture and move on, but I noticed people going inside and found it to be the most popular tourist destination of the town. You enter for free, but I saw popcorn and decided it would be appropriate to buy it. Then there was an ENOURMOUS gift shop located in what was a concert hall / basketball court. There was a short historical video which was very interesting. Once Mitchell stopped growing, some business men decided they needed to attract more people to the town and the corn palace was their answer. They did a great job by hiring bands and street performers, and it became a wildly popular festival. It also showed how they decorate the corn palace. A bizzare but suprisingly interesting stop!
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