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Art Restoration Fundraiser Success

Fundraiser for Three Brown County “Trailblazers” Portraits

[ABERDEEN, SD, August 2021] — The Dacotah Prairie Museum has successfully sent off one of three portraits for repair with their “Brown County Trailblazers” art restoration fundraiser. The campaign began in May 2021, raising over $7,000 towards a $10,000 goal. The fundraiser will conclude at the end of 2021. So far, 47 donors have contributed to this historical restoration project. 

Three pieces from the museum’s fine art collection were selected due to their condition and importance in Brown County’s history. Mr. Charles Howard (1911) of Howard & Hedger Real Estate company and co-donor of the land for the Howard Hedger elementary school; Mr. P.T. Spaulding (1920s), who along with his father, started Spaulding Motors and had the first Ford dealership in Aberdeen in 1909; and Governor Ralph Herseth (1960), born in Houghton, SD and our 21st governor of South Dakota.

The Charles Howard portrait was delivered to the Midwest Art Conservation Center (MACC) in Minneapolis on July 23rd.  The oil painting will be in their care for 6 – 9 months. The Howard portrait was in the greatest need of repair; the canvas was loose, scuffed, and torn and overall in need of a thorough cleaning.  Next to be delivered is the Spaulding portrait, which is actually a photograph that has been enhanced with charcoal and oil paint, and Gov. Ralph Herseth, which was the first official portrait of the governor to hang in the state capital until 1979. Herseth’s portrait is in better shape than the others but needs to be cleaned with some minor repairs to the canvas.  Artwork must be hand-delivered to the MACC; the Museum is making arrangements for the remaining two pieces to make the trip. Interested parties can contact Patricia Kendall, Director if willing to help deliver these pieces.

All three portraits will be restored and preserved in excellent shape for the future. Interested in helping save part of Brown County history? Contact the museum at 605.626.7117 or visit to donate to this project.

The Dacotah Prairie Museum celebrates over 50 years as Brown County’s premier history museum. The Museum is housed in the historic Northwestern Bank building built in 1889 on Aberdeen’s Main Street. Gallery & Museum Store Hours: Tues.-Fri. 10am-5pm and Sat. 11am-4pm. Closed Sundays, Mondays, and major holidays. Free admission, donations are appreciated. Check out the latest exhibits and events at

If you would like more information about this topic, please call Patricia Kendall at 605.626.7117, or email