BROOKINGS – Sioux Valley Energy, H-D Electric Cooperative and East River Electric Power Cooperative have given more than $13,000 to the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum for a new exhibit, “Power to the People: Electrifying Rural South Dakota.” The Ag Heritage Museum is located on the campus of South Dakota State University in Brookings. 

“We’re honored to be able to contribute to this exciting exhibit that looks back at the long history of South Dakota’s electric cooperatives and how farmers and ranchers were able to work together to build their own electric utilities to bring power to the countryside,” said Chris Studer, East River Electric’s chief member and public relations officer.

The exhibit includes many hands-on displays including a pedal power generator and light bulb comparison exhibit, a display that allows visitors to create an electric circuit, and a rural home that gives people a chance to step back in time and see what rural homes of the past really looked like.

“The photos and artifacts in the exhibit give you an incredible look at what it took to get all of the poles, wires and substations built across South Dakota to bring power into rural areas that never had it before,” said Carrie Vugteveen, director of communications and government relations for Sioux Valley Energy. 

“The hands-on activities, the pictures and the layout of the exhibit will give kids and adults a chance to learn more about electricity and see just how impactful electric cooperatives have been on the lives of rural people and the economy of our entire region,” she said.

The South Dakota Rural Electric Association contributed many pictures and artifacts to the Agricultural Heritage Museum for use in the exhibit and many other added pictures and stories to finish the display. The “Power to the People: Electrifying Rural South Dakota” exhibit opened in October and will be on display for 18 months.

By: East River Electric Power Cooperative

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