SDSU archives capture moment of history


The archives in Hilton M. Briggs Library unlocks a door to the history of South Dakota and South Dakota State University.

The room not only gives people a quiet place to study and work, but research materials as well. 

According to Michele Christian, head archivist, the SDSU archives are for collecting and preserving history.

“We have a lot of different types of materials in the archives,” Christian said.

The SDSU archives and special collections portion of the library has two archivists and several other employees.

The archivists organize materials by creator, such as South Dakota congressmen and SDSU presidents. 

A majority of artifacts in the archives center on South Dakota history and the history of SDSU, but there are also materials from other parts of the world.

Christian said one of the purposes of the archives is to provide assistance for research projects. 

The archives employees have digitized some of their materials so researchers can download information. Although not everything can be digitized, the archives contains photographs of athletes, Hobo Day celebrations and SDSU yearbooks online.

According to Christian, the archivists preserve these artifacts by putting photographs in protective sleeves to protect them from skin oils and keeping the artifacts in storage areas throughout the library when they’re not needed.  

SDSU acquires these artifacts by donations or purchases made by the university. Some of the artifacts come with background information about them. 

The archives also has an inventory of all their collections online. Students and researchers can call and ask questions about the artifacts the library has and the background information of it.

Christian recommends people contact archivists ahead of time so they can find the materials and get everything ready.

The archives also has exhibits, with the most recent display featuring Hobo Day memorabilia, including buttons and photographs. 

Sydney Tuttle, senior English major, works in the archives. Her project is to work with “anyone who’s made an impact here at SDSU.”

Tuttle works with the instructional repository, a website that will have dissertations and theses, as well as working with other archivists to put together different collections. 

Tuttle enjoys working in the archives because she gets to see the progression of history. 

“It’s really cool to see the history there and then how it’s also progressed and changed,” Tuttle said.