South Dakota Art Museum Records

Identity elements

Reference code

UA 038

Name and location of repository

Level of description



South Dakota Art Museum Records


  • 1969-2024 (Accumulation)


22.0 linear feet [22 record boxes]
1100 black-and-white photographs
959 black-and-white negatives
106 color photographs
72 color negatives
13067 color slides
5 audiocassettes
38 CDs
2 3.5" floppy diskettes

Name of creator


Administrative history

In 1947, the South Dakota General Federation of Women's Clubs voted to raise the money for an art center so the people of South Dakota would have a place to view works of art. In 1950, the Women's Clubs voted to locate the art center on the South Dakota State College campus in Brookings. Construction began on the facility in 1969 with dedication of the Memorial Art Center occurring in 1970. By 1976, the Art Center became the first museum in South Dakota to be accredited by the American Association of Museums. In 1987, in recognition of its expanded programming and role, the Board of Regents renamed the museum the South Dakota Art Museum.

It is the mission of the South Dakota Art Museum to acquire and care for works of art, which preserve the rich and varied artistic legacy of South Dakota. The tradition of giving works of art to the museum began when the Women's Club gave its collection as the new building was completed. Significant purchases of art for the museum by the university Alumni Association and the South Dakota Arts Council soon followed. Through both purchases and generous gifts, the museum has amassed a worthy permanent collection used extensively for exhibition, educational outreach and scholarly research.

The South Dakota Art Museum has galleries with works on display from the Harvey Dunn, Oscar Howe, Native American Tribal Art and Marghab Linen Collections. Other galleries feature temporary exhibitions representing a broad spectrum of themes, styles and media. Lectures, exhibition briefings, reception, children's programs, films and other public events round out the museum's offerings.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This collection is composed of the museum director's records which contain files related to the operation of the museum, exhibition files, Board of Trustees records, and files related to the museum guild.

The records related to the museum director are composed of material pertaining to the museum building, fundraising, finances, publications and general material related to the operation of the museum.

The director's records are composed of material pertaining to the South Dakota Art Museum building, fundraising, finances, publications and general material related to the operation of the museum. The building files relate to the original construction of the building in 1969 as well as material dealing with the addition constructed in the 1990s. Included are specifications, plans, fundraising, correspondence and events connected with the addition construction, such as the groundbreaking, and the move in preparation for construction. The fundraising files consist of materials related to fundraising efforts in connection with the construction of the addition to the Art Museum. Included are Board of Trustees fundraising information, and material generated by the SDSU Foundation for the Visions for the Future campaign. The financial files are composed of budget files and accounting reports. Also included are year-end reports and inventories for the museum gift shop. Also included are accreditation materials, annual reports, materials related to collections; such as Harvey Dunn and Vera Way Marghab, materials related to events sponsored by the museum, the Jeannette Lusk Memorial Library, and the retirement tribute and reception for Joseph M. Stuart; the first director of the museum. Folders include correspondence, clippings, photographs, programs, and flyers. Publications include exhibition catalogues, materials mailed for promotion of events, brochures, pamphlets, and newsletters.

This exhibition records relate to exhibitions at the South Dakota Art Museum from its inception in 1970 to 1996. These records consist of catalogues, correspondence (to artists, galleries), shipping data, insurance policies, inventories, loan agreements, artist biographies, artwork Descriptions, instructions for handling and/or mounting the works, labels, publicity, clippings, and plans for exhibit cases. A large portion of this collection consists of photographed images of artwork for incoming exhibitions as well as gallery views of the complete exhibit in the museums galleries. Slides make up a large part of these images but photographs and negatives are also included.

The Board of Trustees records consist mainly of meetings minutes and files on individual board members. Folders containing the meeting minutes include agendas, minutes, correspondence, and other material related directly to meetings, such as publications and reports. The files on individual board members may include biographies, clippings, and correspondence. Also included are by-laws, orientation for board members, and board of director's committee files, such as the collection committee, membership committee, special events committee, and donor recognition committee. These files include committee minutes, correspondence and other material related to meetings.

The guild records are composed of records of the South Dakota Art Museum Guild. Folders include handbooks, by-laws, correspondence, membership lists, and guides for docents.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

This collection is open to researchers without restrictions.

The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Researchers conducting extensive research are asked to make an advance appointment to access archival material. Please call or e-mail prior to visiting the collection and indicate as much detail as possible about a particular topic and intended use.

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

South Dakota State University supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted as a result of their fragile condition or by contractual agreements with donors.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Notes element

Specialized notes

Alternative identifier(s)




UA 38

Description control element

Rules or conventions

Sources used

Access points

Subject access points

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Accession area