Rotating Historical Exhibits at CWS

An army soldier, dressed for the Battle of the Bulge campaign in the winter of 1944-1945, and a 48-star flag in the World War II exhibits at the Center for Western Studies.

The Center has several display cases throughout the galleries that exhibit materials on a variety of changing themes. Many are currently related to World War II, in conjunction with Center's recent Dakota Conference on the regional impact of the war. The current exhibits are:

“There Were Giants in the Earth, in Those Days”: South Dakota’s GIs in World War II

During World War II, 64,000 South Dakotans (more than 10% of the state's population) answered the call to serve in the armed forces. Most of them joined the U.S. Army, and this exhibit explores their combat experiences. The European theater is represented by artifacts from the private collection of Dr. Joseph M. and Bobbi Jo Dondelinger. Dr. Dondelinger is a member of the Center for Western Studies Board of Directors and chair and professor of government and international affairs/political science at Augustana University. The Pacific theater is represented by materials from the Glenn E. Soladay Collection given to the Center in recent years by the late veteran's daughter, Elizabeth Soladay. A career South Dakota National Guardsman from Fulton, SD, Soladay served in the 147th Field Artillery in Australia and New Guinea during World War II.

The Radiomen

Between 1942 and 1945, around 45,000 men and women received training in radio mechanics at an Army Air Forces Technical School in Sioux Falls, SD. This traveling exhibit produced by Siouxland Heritage Museums explores the history of the school, including its construction, student life and coursework, and what happened to it after the war.

World War II Morale Posters from the Sioux Falls Army Air Forces Technical School

In conjunction with The Radiomen, this case displays several morale posters created by the Drafting and Reproduction Division of the technical school. The posters were designed by local base personnel and reflect their attitudes about international events as well as the radio mechanics training students received. They were donated by the family of William B. Mauschbaugh, a leader in the Drafting and Reproduction Division at the Sioux Falls school.

Sometimes the Stamps Tell the Story: Postage Stamps of the Third Reich

Militaristic and anti-semitic propaganda was all-encompassing in Nazi Germany. This display features examples of an often-ignored form of propaganda, one that was fully controlled by the government and reached millions of citizens on a daily basis – the postage stamp. The unused 1942-1945 stamps in this exhibit were donated by Veronika Lakstigala, a native of Latvia who experienced both the Soviet and Nazi occupations of her country during the war years.

Native American Use of the Swastika

Seventy years after World War II, the swastika symbol continues to evoke an automatic response of revulsion for its connection to the Nazi regime and the horrors of the Holocaust. But the symbol has actually been used for millennia to signify well-being, good luck, and abundance in various cultures. This exhibit explores pre-war Native American use of the symbol with artifact examples from the Blue Cloud Abbey-American Indian Culture Research Center Collection.

Tossing Their Hats in the Ring: Political Campaign Memorabilia of Yesteryear

In honor of this year's exciting election season, this exhibit features a selection of political campaign memorabilia from the Center for Western Studies collections spanning the years 1860-2008. There are materials representing party platforms, particular issues, and specific candidates at the national, state, and county levels. There are materials from winning campaigns and from losing campaigns. But all received support from American citizens who cast their votes in hope of a better future.

The Sioux Falls Municipal Band

Founded in 1919 by the citizens of Sioux Falls with a self-imposed tax, the Sioux Falls Municipal Band is currently in its 96th consecutive year. This exhibit examines the history of the band, including the integration of women performers in 1964, the contributions of long-time member Paul Hoy, and the development of programs that have become staples in the band’s schedule since 1966–the Children’s and Circus Concerts. The historic materials come from the Sioux Falls Municipal Band Collection archived at the CWS.

There are exhibits on permanent themes in addition to those listed above.