Rotating Historical Exhibits at CWS

Lutheran Normal School campus, ca. 1905-1918

The campus of Lutheran Normal School in Sioux Falls, ca. 1905-1918. Less than a year after the merger with Augustana College in 1918, construction began on the Administration Building still in use today.

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

Augustana University: Celebrating 100 Years in Sioux Falls, 1918-2018

This fall, Augustana University celebrates 100 years in Sioux Falls! Originally founded in Chicago, IL, in 1860, Augustana moved west with the people. The “college on wheels” stopped at several points along the way — Paxton, IL; Marshall, WI; Beloit, IA; Canton, SD — before merging with Lutheran Normal School in Sioux Falls in August 1918 and reaching its permanent home. Much has changed in the ensuing 100 years. This exhibit explores what Augustana was like during its first year in the city in comparison with the experiences of today’s students, including such facets as enrollment, coursework, student regulations, extracurricular activities, campus facilities, faculty, and leadership. 

Carnegie Libraries in South Dakota

Steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie is well-known for his legacy of establishing libraries across the world. In accordance with his philosophy of assisting the “deserving poor,” Carnegie funded the construction of 2,500 new libraries in English-speaking countries, 25 of which were in South Dakota. CWS intern Madelyn Braun has created an exhibit detailing these libraries and showcasing information surrounding their creation, architecture, and legacy. Although many standing “Carnegies” are now utilized for different purposes, the libraries were vital for communities all across the state and reflected Carnegie’s belief in the importance of education.

The Battle of the Little Bighorn

The Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876 was a defining moment in the American Indian Wars. Though a military victory for the Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne over George A. Custer's 7th Cavalry, it led to intensified efforts to force Native American populations onto reservation lands. This exhibit explores the people, locations, and material culture of the battle itself, its depiction in artwork, and the causes and consequences of this seminal event. It was developed by CWS intern Mason Breitling, who has visited the historic battlefield.

Twisted Prairie: South Dakota Tornado Encounters

Tornadoes. Twisters. Cyclones. Whirlwinds. Whatever you call them, they are a part of life in South Dakota. NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information reports that between 1991 and 2010, there was an average of 36 tornadoes in South Dakota and 1,253 in the U.S. each year. A total of 85 tornadoes were observed in South Dakota in 1993, establishing the state’s record that still stands today. This exhibit explores moments in South Dakota’s tornado history through photographs and accounts located in the CWS archives.

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