SDSHS to Loan Sioux Horse Effigy for Display at Museums in Paris, New York City and Kansas City

Sioux Horse Effigy Photo (Courtesy of the South Dakota State Historical Society Website0


PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) One of the prime pieces in the South Dakota State Historical Society’s museum collection at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre will be traveling soon to museums in Paris, New York City and Kansas City, Missouri.  The Sioux Horse Effigy dance stick has been part of the society’s museum collection since it was donated in the 1920’s and is the logo for the society.  It was loaned out at least once-in 1976 during the nation’s bicentennial.  Jay Vogt, Director of the SDSHS says the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City approached the society about a year ago, requesting to borrow the Effigy for an exhibit called “Indians of the Plains-Art and Life in North America”.  Plans call for the piece to first go to the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and then to the Kansas City facility.    Vogt says each museum will display items from their collections, as well as borrowed pieces.

Vogt says when the three foot long wood horse sculpture was shown off during the bicentennial; art critics had nothing but words of praise for the piece.

Vogt says the Sioux Horse Effigy dates to about 1870 and came to the society from a former missionary.  He says it was likely carved to honor a wounded horse.

Society staff talked about the possibility of allowing the Effigy to leave the state with members of the Board of Trustees in Rapid City yesterday.  Discussions centered on security for the piece and what to do to minimize damage to it.  Vogt says the board favors the idea, believing that it will be a good chance for the Historical Society to show off one of its prime pieces to millions of people that might not get a chance to see it.  Vogt says that also could prompt some that view it to get excited about visiting the upper Midwest to learn about the history and American Indian art found in the state.  Negotiations are still underway on how long the Effigy will be away from Pierre.  Vogt says it could leave as early as this summer or fall and be gone through as late as spring of 2015.

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