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Feature Article feature article a new purpose By Katelyn Schramm, Guest Writer A Passion for History Brings New Life to an Old Building with the Opening of the Mead Cultural Education Center One of the most beautiful and oldest buildings in Yankton, the Mead Cultural Education Center (MCEC) is ironically one of Yankton’s newest draws. The renovations on the popular HGTV series Good Bones have nothing on the overhaul that occurred with this building on the campus of the former Dakota Hospital for the Insane, now the campus of the South Dakota Human Services Center. Crystal Nelson, Director/Curator for Yankton County Historical Society, Dakota Territorial Museum, and Mead Cultural Education Center, described the process well. “When we started this process, there were many people who could come up with reasons not to take on the project of restoring this historical building. If you look at it from the perspective of the bottom dollar, it will never make sense…someone has to value the character and the unique features and preserve them for the future. Now, if we just maintain it, this building will be here for hundreds of years.” It started in 2012 when the Yankton County Historical Society decided to save this historic beauty of a building with a vision that it would house the Historical Society, the Dakota Territorial Museum, and other entities, such as the Yankton College Archives (date of relocation from the Summit Activities Center is undetermined). In 2018, The Mead Cultural Education Center, named for a former superintendent of the State Hospital, opened to 30 | Yankton Visitors Guide | www.VisitYanktonSD.com the public. Each year, the exhibits and the programming offered in the space continues to expand, making the MCEC a place for visitors to return year after year. When it comes to the Dakota Territorial Museum portion of the MCEC, the staff and volunteers have big plans. The first floor permanent exhibit, called Journeying Forward: Connecting Cultures, is a multi-phase exhibit that will be completed over the course of several years, with a planned completion date of 2025. This exhibit is designed to provide visitors with the history of the Dakota Territory, its people, and their cultures from prehistory to 2011. The completed Phase 1 portion provides one of the most extensive looks at the journey of Lewis and Clark, making it a major destination for followers of their journey. As Nelson shared, “History is history. It’s not changing, but there’s still so much we can learn from it and discover and interpret. There’s plenty of mysteries yet to be uncovered, even in Yankton.” While adults may love the extensive historical information, children find joy in the Children’s Transportation Museum, which provides a unique way for children to learn about the ways that people traveled between Yankton and