Rotating Historical Exhibits at CWS

Pastor Paul Boe and Chief Frank Fools Crow

Pastor Paul Boe speaks with Chief Frank Fools Crow. A nephew of Oglala Lakota holy man Black Elk, Fools Crow worked to help preserve Lakota traditions. Both men supported the American Indian Movement, and both were present at the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee.


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

Norwegian Emigration on the Northern Plains

More than 4.5 million Americans claim Norwegian heritage today, and a majority of them (55%) live in the Midwest. Augustana University's own history is steeped in the Norwegian Lutheran tradition. Coinciding with the 53rd annual Dakota Conference theme, “Farming, Ranching and Sustainability on the Northern Plains,” this exhibit by CWS intern Ailin Montgomery shares a selection of handmade Norwegian farm tools from the Dennis and Hazel Moe Collection. They represent the majority of Norwegian immigrants (over 77%) who became farm people, taking full advantage of the land grants made available through the Homestead Act of 1862.

A Lutheran Pastor at the 1973 Occupation of Wounded Knee

In the early spring of 1973, during an era of growing protests for Native rights, American Indian Movement (AIM) leaders took over the town of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Early into the 71-day occupation, they invited Paul A. Boe, a Lutheran pastor from Minnesota and AIM supporter, to come to the site as an observer and friend. This exhibit by CWS intern Geena Black discusses the opposing reactions to Boe's involvement, as a pastor of the American Lutheran Church, and the legal trouble he faced afterward.

Renown, Neglect, and Redemption: The Sioux Falls Coliseum

Constructed in 1917, the Coliseum event center in downtown Sioux Falls was once heralded as the "realization of Sioux Falls' hopes and plans and dreams." By the turn of the century, it was shuttered and slated for demolition. Saved by citizen vote from destruction, the Coliseum today serves as the home of the Multi-Cultural Center of Sioux Falls. This exhibit by CWS intern Haley Delaney is an exploration of the rich history of the century-old Coliseum, and the people that safeguarded it.

Celebrating 50 Years: The Center for Western Studies

Officially established by the Augustana College Board of Regents in 1970, the Center for Western Studies celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2020! This exhibit by CWS intern Zechava Kreiselman uses exploration of the Center's earliest years to reflect on how far we've come. Visitors will learn about the Center's founders and the beginnings of our publications and internship programs, the Artists of the Plains Art Show & Sale, and the Dakota Conference.