The Center for Western Studies facilitates and encourages research on the Northern Plains. The archives and manuscript collections and Krause Library are used by students, professors, genealogists, authors, artists, amateur and professional historians, and even architects and interior designers. The newly launched digital collections create a unique access point for researchers interested in Sioux Falls history. The Center's art and artifact collections are regularly exhibited on the main floor of the Fantle Building.
In addition to preserving and providing access to collections of enduring research value, CWS sponsors the annual Dakota Conference and Boe Forum on topics of regional interest, the Artists of the Plains Art Show & Sale, a Faculty Research Award, and scholarship-funded internships in collections management. The Center collaborates with Augustana faculty on the development and teaching of several courses relating to the Northern Plains and with students on independent study courses. CWS also publishes new scholarship about the region every year.