Old Courthouse Museum Exhibits

The Bottle and the Ballot: Prohibition and Women’s Suffrage

The Bottle and the Ballot: Prohibition and the Women's Suffrage
The Bottle and the Ballot:
Prohibition and Women’s Suffrage

Some may find it surprising that there was a time when consuming alcohol was a crime and women did not have voting rights. In fact, these two issues had been debated for over a century. Both were at the forefront during the Progressive Era, a time of political and social reform in America. Some women saw that the only hope of passing nationwide prohibition was if women received the vote. In South Dakota, women organized groups, published newspapers, and held speaking tours to get both measures passed. Soon after South Dakota passed statewide prohibition and granted women the franchise, the 18th and 19th Amendments did the same at the national level.

Let's Ride: Vintage MotorcyclesLet’s Ride: Vintage Motorcycles

At the Old Courthouse Museum!

By the late nineteenth century, bicycling was an established pastime and competitive activity throughout the world. As the bicycle gained in popularity, innovative entrepreneurs developed new technologies to improve riding. One offshoot of these efforts was the attempt to motorize bicycles. Some of the first motorcycles in the United States were made by Waltham Manufacturing Company in 1899, adapting a heavyweight roadster bicycle to fit a small engine imported by the Aster company of France under the name Orient-Aster. Many other companies followed suit, including Indian, Harley-Davidson, and Excelsior. A legitimate motorcycle industry was booming in the United States, with nearly 100 makers building their own bikes prior to the market crash of 1929. Today, motorcycles are produced for leisure, touring, racing, and the military.

Sioux Falls Municipal BandSioux Falls Municipal Band

 

In the late 19th and early 20th century, thousands of bands were formed across the United States to play for theaters, entertainment, civic pride, and competition. These bands were popular in their communities, because they did not have to compete against radio or recordings. Sioux Falls had a number of bands like these, but an earnest effort to form a municipal band in Sioux Falls began in 1919. The city election was held on April 15, 1919, and the proposition to form a band passed 2,452 to 2,282. For the past 100 years, the Sioux Falls Municipal Band has played at local events, parades, retirement communities, and of course the Sioux Falls Parks. Learn about the band, directors, players, and more at our latest exhibit.

Toys

Toys

What was your favorite toy growing up? Was it a stuffed animal, a cherished Barbie doll, or a heroic action figure? Regardless of the toy, that question undoubtedly conjures up childhood memories of past toys. In our newest exhibit Toys, we take a look at all types of toys from the past. Maybe you’ll spot your favorite!

Children have been playing with toys for thousands of years. The earliest known playthings were sticks, balls, and carved figurines of people and animals. They were used to teach children cultural values as well as how to use weapons for hunting and warfare. Cultural and technological shifts over time changed the way people used toys. They became instrumental in childhood development; toys could both educate and entertain children.

Toys will open on Thursday, November 29th, with a reception from 5-7 p.m. Come take a look at toys through the ages at the Old Courthouse Museum with museum staff, food, and drinks. Admission is free!

Tonics & Tools of Medicine

Tonics and Tools of Medicine

No one likes being sick or hurt. That same sentiment is as true today as it was in the late 1800s. The early settlers of Sioux Falls were no different, but they had a much different outlook on their health than we do today. The people of the nineteenth century relied on doctors, drugstores, and some home remedies to get better. What has changed are the ways they operated. Doctors promoted themselves as versatile experts in multiple fields, and drugstores were local one-stop shopping places for prescriptions and ingredients for home remedies. Without twenty-first century technology, early medical professionals relied on basic tools and different practices to treat their patients. Though the technologies and practices have changed in the medical field, some methods have remained the same. Enjoy examining early Sioux Falls medicine and the instruments that helped keep its citizens healthy.

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Previous Exhibits