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Yankton's Museum History

Territorial Senate Building first 1936.jpg

1936 to Present

In June, 1936 Yankton's first museum opened under the direction of the Daniel Newcomb Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R). They had acquired a building built originally on 4th and Broadway Streets (Yankton) in 1861. It was used in 1862 to hold the first Dakota Territorial Legislative (Council) session. Decades later it had been moved to a farm for a grain bin. The D.A.R. acquired the building after the farm went bankrupt, renovated it, and opened it as a museum in Riverside Park (Yankton).

1953 - 1971

In 1953, the Territorial Council Building and museum collection were moved to West Side Park in Yankton. In 1961, the Yankton County Historical Society was officially formed and took over management of the Museum.

1953 dedication.jpg

1971 to 2018

The 1971 a new and larger building was built next to the old council building. For more than 30 years the Museum has called this building home. The former Dakota Territorial Council building remained as extra exhibit space, and many additional outside buildings have been added, including the Gunderson Rural School House, Hovden Cabin and the Burlington Northern Caboose. 

2018 - Present

In 2012, the YCHS Board of Directors accepted the task of saving a building north of Yankton, part of the former Yankton State Hospital campus. The Mead Building was a multi-year, multi-million dollar venture that reopened in 2018 as the Mead Cultural Education Center. The name was changed in 2022 to Mead Museum. And even though we are open, the task of restoring the Mead building is not complete! The first two floors have completed exhibits and traveling exhibits space. The basement, third floor, and east wing are still in the construction phase. 

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