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YANKTON, S.D. (AP) — Experts say a Civil War-era cannonball at the Dakota Territorial Museum is non-explosive.

Museum officials began looking into whether the cannonball is an explosive threat while the museum prepared to move into the Mead Cultural Education Center, the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan reported.

“When we were talking about moving it across town, that was a different story,” said Crystal Nelson, curator and director of the Yankton County Historical Society. “We were not going to change the atmosphere, temperature and avoid bumps, so we decided we finally had to take care of it.”

Yankton Police Lt. Mike Burgeson said he contacted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to examine the cannonball. The bureau then called Ellsworth Air Force members to X-ray the device for gunpowder or explosive primer.

The police department would confiscate and dispose of the cannonball if any explosive contents were found.

“It’s a museum piece so we really didn’t want to destroy it, but we don’t know if it’s live or much about it,” Burgeson said. “It turned out to be a solid steel ball, so they were able to retain it, but if it had an explosive piece in it, we would’ve had to take it and blow it up which is sad, because you lose a bit of history that way.”

Museum records don’t show how the cannonball came into curators’ possession.

Nelson believes it’s related to the museum’s cannon, which was brought to the area in the 1860s. It’s around the same time period when explosive components were added to cannonballs.

Nelson said the museum hasn’t set a specific date to move into the Mead Cultural Education Center, but hope to do so this summer.


Information from: Yankton Press and Dakotan,