New Social Science Museum Offers Global Perspective


Katie Stromme

Emily Schoephrster welcomes visitors to the new Social Science Museum

Katie Stromme, Head Copy Editor


How many artifacts are on display in Southwest Minnesota State University’s new social science museum? “A lot!” said Emily Schoephoerster. Schoephoerster, who is getting credit through an independent study for helping to put the museum together, has been working all semester cataloging artifacts, cleaning, arranging displays, and creating additional storage. “It was pretty much a mess when I got to it,” she said of the museum. “It has come a long way.”
The culmination of her work was realized Tuesday, April 3 during the museum’s grand opening from 12 p.m. to one p.m. in the social science building, room 201. The museum will have regular hours from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Many of the artifacts on display come from SMSU’s old anthropology museum, which was a campus facility which opened in 1977. Over the years, the University has purchased many artifacts from as far away as India, China, Africa and Nepal. Some artifacts have been donated as well.
“People have not seen SMSU’s collection in many years,” said Schoephoerster. “So we wanted to show the public and students what the school has obtained. I call them ‘hidden treasures.’”
Two of the display cases currently house pieces from Dr. Thomas Dilley’s private collection of Alaskan artifacts. Next fall, the department will work towards their goal of regularly featuring traveling exhibits from other social science disciplines such as history and anthropology.
The museum’s success was a team effort: Schoephoerster worked closely with the social science staff, maintenance workers, and Vicky Brockman, the chair of the social science department, to pull all of the displays together.
“Studying artifacts helps us better understand different cultures and time periods,” Schoephoerster said. “It can open our minds to new experiences and ideas.”