Clothing, textiles and other forms of material culture reveal much about the cultural values and expectations of an era. They reflect our social customs, our level of technology, and our economic conditions. Each item tells a complex and fascinating story.
South Dakota State University is home to the Snellman Hsia Collection. The collection began in 1963 when Mrs. Joe Foss donated the ball gown she wore at her husband's inauguration as governor of South Dakota in 1954. The collection features over 3000 textiles, clothing items and accessories including those of the Alice Johnson Reifel Asian Art Collection and the Fisher Costume and Textile Collection. The diversity of the collection is represented by the Dona Brown Button Collection, the First Ladies of South Dakota Collection, the Mildred White Glass Collection, the Ardyce Gilbert Plate Collection and the Hinsvark Iron Collection.
The collection is used primarily by students majoring in Apparel Merchandising and enrolled in such classes as historic costume, apparel design, aesthetics of dress and ready-to-wear analysis. Research by faculty and staff has resulted in presentations at regional, national and international conferences.