SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The future is unclear for the decommissioned taxidermy at the now-shuttered Delbridge Museum of Natural History, but a Sioux Falls resident is offering a possible destination: their former home. John Sweets told the City Council about his idea for what to do with the taxidermy.
“Let’s bring them home back to the West Sioux,” Sweets said Tuesday. “As the owner of the building, I’d be very, very willing to create an atmosphere where we can get the animals back, displayed.”
Sweets owns the building in northern Sioux Falls that was once West Sioux Hardware, where the taxidermy collection was located decades ago.
“I look at it, and I say, man, it would be so neat if we could still keep that history in Sioux Falls,” Sweets said Wednesday. “Let’s bring it back to where it was initially.”
Not just anyone can acquire the taxidermy.
“In order for somebody to be eligible to receive the collection, they would have to be a 501(c)3, and they would have to agree to display or store the collection within the state of South Dakota,” Don Kearney, director of parks and recreation with the City of Sioux Falls, said on Tuesday.
Sweets says he doesn’t want to own the animals. But he knows how they’d be displayed if they ended up at his building.
“I would just literally look at it and say, we got to have them behind glass,” he said Wednesday. “This is what it’s going to cost us if we’re going to do it. This is what we need to raise to get it done.”
Sweets says the detected arsenic in the specimens does not worry him. He floats the idea of a future for this warehouse that could draw comparisons to another South Dakota destination.
“In my mind, I think a little, kind of like Wall Drug, where it’s just so many little different, like, come, check this out, and it’s just so many different local vendors,” Sweets said Wednesday. “And imagine if that could be kind of a Sioux Falls thing where they come and walk through.”
The city council is set to vote on designating the collection as surplus on September 19; this designation would allow another organization to receive the collection now owned by the city.