South Dakota in World War One - The Old Courthouse Museum Exhibit

Last Updated by Brian Gevik on
Old Courthouse Museum Exhibit Logo
Siouxland Heritage Museums

The exhibit summarizes World War One and details South Dakota's role in the conflict. Some elements of the exhibit come with rich and well-documented histories, like the well-preserved uniform of pilot Fred Christopherson. Christopherson, originally from Toronto, South Dakota, was trained as a bomber pilot but never saw combat. He returned to Sioux Falls after the war and worked as the editor of the Argus Leader for 33 years.

world war one uniform

Fred C. Christopherson in 1918Fred C. Christopherson, 1918

Other relics on display speak for themselves.

german machine gunGerman machine gun

german infantry rifleGerman infantry rifle

german helmetGerman "Pickelhaube" Helmet. (Pickaxe-helmet)

american machine gunAmerican machine gun, helmet, rifle

old courthouse museum wwI exhibit

Relics and war booty - old rifles, machine guns, bayonets, hand grenades and the like - are displayed in cases set into the walls of a simulated trench. Another part of the exhibit features the music of the era.

old phonograph

old sheet music

One wall is plastered with propaganda posters and other wartime artworks.

WWI propaganda posters

WWI propaganda posters

One section is dedicated to remembering the role of women in the war and on the homefront.

WWI propaganda posters

A child's army-style jacket is displayed next to a small toy cannon. The cannon was sold with a paper cutout of Kaiser Wilhelm, which was meant to be used as a target.

child's military-style tunic

toy cannon

paper cutout of Kaiser Wilhelm

Some of the many photographs in the exhibit were made on European battlefields. Others were shot closer to home.

trench warfare in France - ca 1918

soldiers leave Sioux Falls for WWISouth Dakota National Guard Parade on Philips Ave. before leaving for France, 1917

Home guard troops in Sioux FallsHome guard troops pose in front of the Coliseum, ca. 1917

photos of fallen sd service members

Portraits of fallen South Dakota soldiers look back from honor roll posters that resemble pages from an old high school year book.

fallen sd soldiers

fallen sd soldier

fallen sd soldier

corporal c.E. nelson image






"World War One - The Great War" can be seen at the Old Courthouse Museum, Main and 6th St. in downtown Sioux Falls. Admission is free. Visit the Museum's Web site for more information.

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