Over Museum begins fund-raising campaign

Over Museum begins fund-raising campaign The Friends of the W.H. Over Museum voted to establish a fundraising campaign to raise $35,000 to augment the Lewis and Clark/Spirit Mound Learning Center as well as the long-term endowment which was established in 1996 for the support of the W.H. Over Museum.

The learning center was officially opened Aug. 25 in celebration of the visit of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to this area in the year 1804. Together with the Chamber of Commerce and local businesses, the Friends of the Museum staged a two-day event with picnic on the lawn, ribbon cutting to open the center, an evening of talks on Friday and a hike to Spirit Mound and a guided canoe trip on the Missouri on Saturday.

For the year 2001, more activities will be added.

For the learning center itself, funded largely by matching grants from the state and the National Park Service, the Friends plan to establish a special fund for its upkeep and future development. The center consists of a dramatic mural which depicts a portion of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery visiting Spirit Mound, an artifacts case with first edition journals of Patrick Gass and Lewis and Clark as well as a map drawn in 1807 from Lewis' data and tools from that period.

The computer center is designed to let visitors explore for themselves what the corps did during their trek up the Missouri to the west coast and it helps them understand what they encountered in this region.

Less than 50 years later an outpost had been established in the Vermillion area. Then 10 years later, the town of Vermillion had been established. The W.H. Over Museum, established in 1883 as part of the budding university, has also grown and changed. From a collection of fossils and minerals to a natural and cultural history museum, the Over reflects primarily this region of the United States.

The Lewis and Clark/Spirit Mound Learning Center has already attracted a number of travelers who are following the trail from St. Louis to the west coast. At the center they can bone up on the events of this section of the trip, especially Spirit Mound. The additional $35,000 will help to enlarge and improve the opportunities for learning at the center, making it user friendly for young children and the handicapped, school groups as well as Lewis and Clark followers.

The planned addition of the Lakota/Dakota names for the plants and animals encountered by the corps will bring the program our residents will be able to come into contact with the language style of the people living here when the Lewis and Clark Expedition came through.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the Lewis and Clark fund-raising campaign should call the museum, 677-5228, or e-mail (whover@usd.edu) their interest. The Friends of the Museum invite everyone to join the effort to fund the center and add to the endowment which will insure the security of the museum for generations to come.

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