Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village is on the site of several villages established by Native Americans around 1000 AD near what is now Mitchell, South Dakota. About a thousand people lived in the village in 70 huts constructed of timber frames and mud plaster. The site has been amazingly well preserved because the land has not been plowed in modern times, leaving the ground relatively untouched and full of artifacts. The museum consists of two facilities, the Boehnen Museum and the Archeodome. The Boehnen Museum houses the Patton Gallery, which exhibits an artifact display (including arrowheads and tools) and a replica of a prehistoric Indian Village lodge. The Archeodome is built over two earth lodges and serves as a year round archeological laboratory, allowing archaeologists unlimited access to the excavation site.
The prairie town of De Smet, South Dakota is better known as “The Little Town on the Prairie,” the setting for the famous novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder, including “By the Shores of Silver Lake,” “The Long Winter,” and “These Happy Golden Years.” The Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial preserves two homes in which Laura Ingalls and her family lived in the late nineteenth century. They spent the winter of 1879, their first winter on the Dakota prairies, in the Surveyors’ House (the house described in “By the Shores of Silver Lake”). Charles Ingalls built a larger home for the family in 1887. After the death of Laura Ingalls Wilder in 1957, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society was founded in DeSmet to preserve the family’s former homes. Both the Surveyors’ House, which is now the oldest building in De Smet, and the Ingalls Home have been restored for touring. The Ingalls Home in particular displays many artifacts and original belongings of the Ingalls and Wilder families.