Medical museum reopens to share history of nursing

Sioux Empire Medical Museum is South Dakota’s first and only medical museum

Medical museum display with headline "NURSING IN TIMES OF UNCERTAINTY." Photos on the wall in the background illustrate the wooden wheelchairs, crutches and iron lung on display.

Sanford Health has reopened the newly renovated Sioux Empire Medical Museum and dedicated it to the Sioux Valley Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association.

The Sioux Empire Medical Museum opened in 1975 thanks to the efforts of countless alumni. It was South Dakota’s first medical museum and remains the state’s only to this day. It closed temporarily in recent years for the remodel.

Now, visitors will be taken through the history of nursing through video, photos, historical medical equipment, uniforms, and panels of information.

One of the highlights of the museum is an Iron Lung. When polio first hit the region in the 1940s, the Iron Lung was used to treat patients who contracted the disease. These machines were used to help patients breathe artificially until they could breathe on their own again, typically after a few weeks.

“Nurses touch almost all of us at some point in our lives. The Sioux Empire Medical Museum is an amazing way to honor the nurses who came before us and paved the way for how we care for patients today,” said Kelly Hefti, vice president of nursing and clinical services at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls. “As we reflect on how the profession of nursing has evolved through the years, I want to thank the Sioux Valley Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association for their efforts in preserving and remembering this history.”

The Sioux Empire Medical Museum is located on the lower level of the Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It is free and open for people to visit from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday starting Oct. 10. It will be closed on holidays throughout the year.

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Posted In Community, Company News, Nursing and Nursing Support, Sioux Falls