Stone Church receives DAR grant

Courtesy Photo Executive Director Louise Van Poll and Research Assistant Anna Gednalske accept a grant of $6,060.34 from the Mary Chilton DAR Foundation for upgrades to the Centennial Stone Church to house the Dakotaland Museum’s extensive archive collection.

The Centennial Stone Church Center was awarded a grant for $6,060.34 for the preservation and storage of the archive collections from the Mary Chilton Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, through the Mary Chilton DAR Foundation in Sioux Falls, along with matching funds from the museums.

The upgrades to the Stone Church are continuing in the basement where the museum archives and collections are stored.

Work began nearly two years ago with the installation of new shelves and file cabinets. Then last year, all the material that had been stored at the Dakotaland Museum was brought to the Stone Church.

“Unfortunately, the archives at the Stone Church and the ones at the Dakotaland used different filing systems,” said Executive Director Louise Van Poll.

So, for the past winter and spring, Research Assistant Anna Gednalske has been hard at work sorting and organizing the archives according to a new filing system. It is a very time-consuming and labor-intensive undertaking.

After the Dakotaland and the Stone Church files are combined, museum staff will begin conducting an inventory of the Pyle House collection prior to moving it to the Stone Church.

“It was always the plan to organize the basement of the Stone Church for the permanent storage of the archives,” explained Van Poll. “Extreme temperature and humidity swings such as occur at the Dakotaland Museum, and sunlight which is abundant at the Pyle House, are all very detrimental for storing photos, newspapers, books, and correspondence. The Stone Church basement eliminates all those harmful factors. Also, housing them at the Stone Church will make them available for patrons and researchers all year round.”

In recognition of this generous grant, the new archives room has been named the Mary Chilton DAR Foundation Reading Room.