SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken issued a proclamation today celebrating Black History Month and the unveiling of the new exhibit at the South Dakota African American History Museum in the Washington Pavilion.
The new Black Lives Matter exhibit features artwork by Sioux Falls native Isabella Hageman, who is a freshman in college in Colorado.
“This is a nice addition and extension of the museum, we are quickly though probably running out of space here, we will have to start thinking of where the next chapter of the museum will takes us,” TenHaken said.
TenHaken said he learned they had never formally honored Black History Month in the city of Sioux Falls with a proclamation. He thought that it seemed only fitting to do it now, with it being Black History Month and with the extension of the museum.
Julian Beaudion, Interim Director of the South Dakota African American History Museum, said that this proclamation is especially important right now because there is a lot of conversation, especially in the state of South Dakota, about preserving accurate history.
“Important conversations to us need to happen 365 days a year,” Beaudion said. “But we would be remissive if we think that conversation is the end all to progress, right? Conversation means absolutely nothing without the change in attitude and the change in action. And so we really want to be the starting point in education for our community, but we want make sure you understand that this only a starting point and there’s much more work to be done.”
Beaudion says that they are hoping to continue to expand the museum. They have been fortunate enough to work with several administrations in Sioux Falls, and each administration has been very supportive of the South Dakota African American History Museum and with that support they have been able to create the museum they have now along with the support of the community.
They are running out of space, Beaudion said. They are hoping to look for a space, either within the Pavilion or a space of their own, in the near future.
“We have so much more history that we could be telling, that we are just not allowed to tell, because lack of resources right now,” Beaudion said.
Beaudion said, it send chills down his spine every time he walks down the museum, particularly for him because he had the honor to speak at the George Floyd March in Sioux Falls at the statue of Martin Luther King Jr. He said having the Black Lives Matter exhibit right across the hall from the Martin Luther King Jr. exhibit brings it all close to home.