Rotating Historical Exhibits at CWS

Lighted arch that welcome returning servicemen to Sioux Falls in 1919

A lighted arch in Sioux Falls, SD, "honors and welcomes all who have served" following the hostilities of World War I.

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

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.

Father Stanislaus Maudlin's Vestments

A brand new case in the Elmen Gallery features the vestments of Father Stanislaus Maudlin (1916-2006), a Benedictine monk and founding member of the former Blue Cloud Abbey in Marvin, SD. Father Stan was a passionate supporter of Native American culture. Given the name "Wambdi Wicasa" (Eagle Man) in 1942 by the Yankton Sioux he served, he was honored to receive this set of painted and beaded vestments for use in his ministry.

Women's Activism in South Dakota

Though we seldom acknowledge it, South Dakota has a rich history of women’s activism stretching from its earliest days as a state to the social tumult of the 1960s and 1970s and beyond. This exhibit digs deeper into this history and examines the legacies of both individuals and organizations who took part in it. They include Indian missionaries (Louisa Irvine Riggs and Mary Buel Hatch Riggs), teetotalers (Women’s Christian Temperance Union), second-wave feminists (League of Women Voters and American Association of University Women) and, more generally, concerned citizens, all of whom advocated for causes they were passionate about and who occasionally challenged the status quo of their day. 

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.