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Native American

Native American Preservation Project

The South Dakota Art Museum has been fortunate over the years to have received support through funding from Barb & Van Fishback, Cecilia Bierne Endowment, Institute for Museum and Library Services, Larson Foundation, Bonnie Lievan, Midwest Art Conservation Center, National Endowment for the Humanities, South Dakota Arts Council and numerous individuals to further the Museum's efforts to ensure the preservation and access to its collections.

In 2005, the South Dakota Art Museum was awarded a Museum Mentorship Grant by the Midwest Art Conservation Center with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Mentorship provided assistance in developing a major stewardship project to initiate a rehousing and research project involving two museum volunteer groups.


The Treasure Tuesday group assisted in collection related activities including the rehousing of nearly 900 Native American objects. Meeting every Tuesday morning, twelve volunteers designed and constructed individual custom storage mounts for each object. Over the course of four years, this dedicated group of volunteers have logged well over 8000 hours of work. Their efforts will ensure the long term safety and access to the museum's collections. The Treasure Tuesday group has not only rehoused the collection, but has documented the process and has made available directions and templates for the storage.

carolbenderThe Thursday Thinker group conducted extensive collection and object research in an effort to completely document the museum's collection. Reference materials were acquired through financial support of Barbara and Van Fishback. The information gathered has been used in exhibit development and programming. To date, the researchers have documented nearly 150 objects and have logged greater than 300 hour of work. The researchers have also developed study worksheets to further describe characteristics of the objects studied.

 In 2006, the South Dakota Art Museum was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Preservation Assistance Grant (PAG). The PAG grant provided funding to purchase supplies to properly rehouse 900 objects in the Native American Collections.  The project was designated by the National Endowment for the Humanities as a "WE THE PEOPLE PROJECT" for promoting knowledge and understanding of American History and Culture.

Since 2005, volunteers have contributed thousands of hours towards collection stewardship. It is their enthusiasm and dedication the the museum has been able to further its collection stewardship efforts.

For additional details including worksheets and storage box examples, please contact Lisa Scholten