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South Dakota museum shares chair collection


‘Sit on It’, an exhibit at the Mead Cultural Education Center in Yankton, S.D., on display from Feb. 1 to Mar. 31, features over 40 chairs reflecting the early settlors’ history of Yankton County and the Dakota Territory.


Chairs are from a collection in the Dakota Territorial Museum, established in 1936 and located in center. They were donated by families in and around the local community and include those brought to America on steamships with immigrant families, used in the governance of Dakota Territory and its capital city, and others made on homesteads.

“This is the first time we’ve featured all our chairs from the museum,” says Crystal Nelson, the museum’s director and exhibit coordinator.


Nelson says several chairs are from Scandinavian countries, including the Jane (Groot) Brann Holland Chair of 1753 with a cane seat.


“My favorite chairs are the ones that came from the old countries, the ones that came with our immigrants to the Dakota Territory in 1860s, 1870s and 1880s. They had to pick and choose what they could bring with them from home when they came to America. So it’s just interesting that these chairs were part of those things that they chose to haul with them, from overseas, across the country, and still have them long enough in their families to have them donated to a museum. It’s just a little niche of immigrant culture.”

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This article was originally published in the April 2022 issue.

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