Children's Museum of South Dakota

History

The Larson Family Foundation is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1990 to fulfill the need of the state's communities and citizens and help improve the quality of life for all South Dakotans.

It was established by Dale Larson, CEO and President of Larson Manufacturing Company, the nation's leading manufacturer of storm doors and storm windows. The purpose of establishing a foundation was to give back to the community of Brookings and the state of South Dakota which have played a significant role in the growth and prospering of Larson Manufacturing.

A Love of Play and Learning

Pat and Dale Larson always believed that play is learning, and learning is fun. During the summers, Dale and Pat would drive across country with their three young daughters to explore the world around them. They hiked through national parks, donned costumes at Colonial Williamsburg, and searched for life in the ocean. 

Pat and Dale also strongly believed that everyone, no matter age or ability, had unique gifts to offer the world. They encouraged their girls to become involved, volunteer, and to give back to their community. Education and philanthropy were to be lifelong ambitions.

It All Started with a Trip

When Carmelle Larson Jackson traveled across the country with her own children, she was determined to make the journey as fun as the destination. She made frequent stops at children’s museums and came away with a love for the energy and creativity found in each place. She also came away with a vision: to build an exciting place where children of all ages and abilities could learn through play in her own hometown of Brookings, South Dakota. The Larson Family and the Larson Foundation turned this vision into a reality by fully funding the start up costs of the Children's Museum of South Dakota, and by establishing an endowment for future operating costs.

Over the next four years, the Larson Family assembled a diverse board of advisors who teamed up with consultants and professionals from the children’s museum industry, leaders in the Brookings community, educators from the local school district as well as South Dakota State University to develop a world-class museum that promotes learning through imagination, creativity and discovery.