A museum in Ft. Pierre may hold one of the best kept secrets about South Dakota's past.
The Verendrye Museum is housed in an unassuming vintage building -- an old American Legion Hall from the 1930's. Inside, the museum opens its doors to visitors who want to travel back in time.
One of the museum's staple pieces include a lead plate that was rediscovered in 1931 by students in Ft. Pierre.
The plate was left there by two frontiersmen -- the Verendrye brothers -- for whom the museum is named. The brothers came from Canada, marking the land, claiming it for the King of France back in the 1700's.
Ft. Pierre was part of an open territory that eventually became part of the United States upon the presidency of Thomas Jefferson.
But the marker plate will forever be part of the museum -- and the community's -- history.
Museum Board President Darby Nutter says the exhibits include several other interesting things like saddles and tools that families of ranchers and homesteaders left behind.
"The Verendrye Museum is a little deceiving," Nutter said. "The brothers were French explorers from Canada. What's in this building is homesteader, early day cowboy, open range stuff. The country was open to settlers."
The museum's peak season is between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and is open to the public seven days a week.