Rotating 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:
Photographing Dakota Territory and Beyond
In conjunction with the current gallery exhibit, "Dakota Territory Plains and Mountains: Images from the Robert Kolbe Collection," several pieces of antique photography equipment are on display in the Center's Elmen Gallery. Cameras ranging from 1890-1941 demonstrate the revolutionary transition from glass plate to film negatives that occurred shortly after Dakota Territory became North and South Dakota. Additional supplies that would have been used during the wet and dry plate processes of Dakota Territory photographers reveal the challenges they faced. The artifacts in this exhibit are gifts of Reuben Goertz, Byron A. Russell, Blue Cloud Abbey, and on loan from Robert Kolbe.
Blue Cloud Abbey-American Indian Culture Research Center Artifacts
In 2012, the Center for Western Studies was named the new repository for the research collections of the American Indian Culture Research Center formerly located at Blue Cloud Abbey in northeastern South Dakota. The Center is honored to receive these collections which include more than 1,000 artifacts related to the Lakota and Dakota Sioux and Benedictine missionary efforts in the state. A selection of artifacts have been on display since the collections arrived, but student interns reinvented the exhibit in June of 2013, adding new interpretation and several new pieces. They demonstrate the amazing craftsmanship of the Sioux people and the breadth of the Blue Cloud Abbey collection.
Getting Hitched in Iowa during the Great Depression: A Case Study
Edwin Hesby of Arlington, SD, met Pearl Lewison of Sioux Rapids, IA, in 1936. After several years of long-distance courting, the two were wed in Sioux Rapids in 1939. Pearl kept very detailed records for much of her life, and this display explores the expenses paid for her wedding during the Great Depression. Costs are compared to the average amounts spent by Iowa brides in 2011.
Stephen R. and Annie B. (Ackley) Riggs
Stephen R. Riggs was an early Congregational missionary to the Sioux in Minnesota and Dakota Territory. His life has been studied at length, but little has been known about his second marriage to Annie B. Ackley, a teacher who had previously worked at one of Riggs' missions and even taught his children. The Center recently received a new collection of Riggs family papers that includes correspondence from Stephen to Annie. Several of these enlightening letters are now on display.
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 Room.
There are exhibits on permanent themes in addition to those listed above.