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 Madsen 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.

Where Are We?: Defining the Region in Which We Live

Writers have used various terms to identify the central region of the United States, including "Great American Desert," "Middle Border," "Siouxland," "flyover country," and more recently "the big empty" and "the lost region." In conjunction with our upcoming Dakota Conference on regional identity, this exhibit explores the origins and definitions of these terms. The difficulties inherent in defining these regions are demonstrated with maps. Visitors are asked to consider what geographical and demographic characteristics serve to identify each region, if these characteristics are changing, and whether these distinctions and labels make sense today. Go a step further with MyMidwest, an interactive mapping survey developed by Sasaki Associates in Massachusetts, conveniently located on a kiosk accompanying the exhibit. Here's your chance to join the conversation and see how people from different areas of the country and even outside the United States define the Midwest.

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.