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. 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 in conjunction with the Center's upcoming Dakota Conference on the war, 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.

Hiawatha Asylum for Insane Indians

In 1934, the Hiawatha Asylum for Insane Indians closed its doors after 32 years of operation. Formerly located on what is now a golf course in Canton, South Dakota, the institution housed Native American patients from tribes across the United States. This exhibit examines the often dismal history of the asylum and the lasting impact that remains eighty years after its closure.

Honoring the Service of South Dakotans 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 various expressions of gratitude to South Dakota's doughboys and sailors who served during World War I. Many of the materials are donations to the CWS research collections.

Where in the World? The Many Uses of Passports

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? When people today plan an international trip, the most vital document they have is their passport. A person’s passport allows them entry into over 170 nations across the globe, and reaffirms their status as United States citizens. This exhibit examines the history, design and function of the passport in the United States, using examples from the CWS collections and archives. 

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.