Rotating Historical Exhibits at CWS

The Center has several display cases throughout the galleries that exhibit materials on a variety of changing themes. The current exhibits are:

South Dakotans Fight in World War I

On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war on Germany, formally entering a conflict which had already raged in Europe for almost three years. By the time the war ended in November of 1918, around 30,000 South Dakotans had served as soldiers and sailors. The documents and artifacts on display are visual evidence of the experiences of South Dakota’s doughboys and sailors during World War I, including their enlistment, uniforms, training, souvenirs they acquired, and expressions of gratitude for their service. Many of the materials are donations to the CWS research collections. Additional artifacts are on loan from Aaron Woodard.

Leaving for War?: Mobilization of the 147th Field Artillery in World War II

Archie Hildebrand on the train for Fort Ord, CA, 1940Glenn Soladay was one of 2,263 members of the South Dakota National Guard to serve as Army officers and soldiers during World War II. This exhibit features images of his unit, B Battery of the 147th Field Artillery Regiment, leaving Mitchell, SD, and traveling to Fort Ord, CA, in 1940 for what was to be a year of training. Years later, the soldiers returned home, having fought overseas in Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines. The images were only recently discovered as undeveloped negatives in Soladay's footlocker in 2008. They are now part of the Glenn E. "Doc" Soladay Collection donated by Elizabeth Soladay to the CWS archives.

The South Dakota Ornithologists' Union

Founded in 1949, the South Dakota Ornithologists' Union (SDOU) works to promote the study of ornithology and, more specifically, the study of bird life in South Dakota. A leading authority on the subject, the SDOU strives for systematic reporting and recording of species presence and distribution in the state. This exhibit demonstrates the birding SDOU members do in the field and highlights the various public benefits that arise from their efforts. The materials are from SDOU's official organization records which are archived at CWS and available for public research.

Native American Quillwork

This display in the Elmen Gallery discusses the extent and process of Native American quillwork. The porcupine quill has been used as a decorative element by many Native American tribes. Individual quills are transformed by a process that includes soaking and dying, preparing them to be sewn to the desired object. Quillwork became less prevalent after the introduction of the glass bead by the Europeans, but it still remained as a decorative art. Examples in the exhibit are from the Blue Cloud Abbey-American Indian Culture Research Center Collection at CWS; additional examples can be found in the Froiland Plains Indian Gallery.

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