Generous, kind, compassionate, trusting, frugal, down to earth and eccentric are all words that have been used to describe the Museum of Visual Materials founder, Dr. Rose Faithe.
Rose was a woman who liked to give back to the community and, in 2007, the doors of the Museum opened so that she would be able to do just that.
Rose was born on May 24, 1931 in Wicota, SD, to Frank and Anna Greene. She had five brothers and sisters and grew up in Cresbard, SD. After her high school graduation in 1948, she left home to pursue her dreams. She went to live with Matthew and Margaret Faithe and eventually changing her legal name to Rose Fidelis Faithe.
Yankton was the first stop on her professional road. Her work at a seed company lasted only one year before she realized that further education would be needed to accomplish her goals. Rose took a short course in printing from the South Dakota State College and went to work at the newspaper in Parker, SD. She again returned to school, this time for a 12-week course to receive her teaching degree. Her first teaching position in a rural one room school that did not have electricity lasted two months. Rose returned to printing in Huron, SD, and Sioux City, IA. She attended Morningside College in Sioux City before moving to Omaha, NE, to attend the University of Omaha. While in Omaha, she attended school by day and worked in printing on the typesetting machine by night.¹
In 1960, Rose earned her law degree from the University of Omaha, now Creighton Law School. As her schooling was ending, she found that there was an opening for one of the four women quota in the medical school at the University of Nebraska. She earned her M.D. in June, 1964. Her thesis was written on “Myotonia dystrophica: bits relationship to diabetes mellitus.”
Rose left college debt free and began a one-year internship at McKennan Hospital (now Avera McKennan hospital). Margaret Faithe was also a physician and in 1965, Rose and Margaret began working together in Waconda, SD. Rose eventually returned to teaching both at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and also at Creighton University Medical Center. She returned to practicing medicine in Viborg until her retirement in 1995. Her patients loved her and her colleagues respected her. She was known to provide savings bonds to each of the children she delivered. Dr. Faithe is also quoted in “Family Medicine: Principles and Practices.” She wrote several unpublished works alike. Rose was a spearhead in getting the free community health services rolling.²
Dr. Faithe may have been described as all of the above, but we can sum it up in one word: collector. Rose owned a three-story home in Sioux Falls filled with items she had acquired over her lifetime. These items consisted of over 4,000 books, 80,000 sewing buttons, antique dolls, numerous sewing machines, and just about every craft item available. It was Rose’s dream to share her good fortune with others, especially those that might not be able to afford otherwise.
Her dream took shape in one of the oldest buildings in Sioux Falls, an 1887 abandoned warehouse with the help of Stacey McMahan and Koch Hazard. She named the Museum in honor of Matthew Faithe. Matthew had created a traveling exhibit showing his items from a trip to Egypt in the back of his panel wagon vehicle and named it, “Museum of Virtual Materials.”³
As her dream was to allow everyone to experience the unique activities offered through visiting the Museum, Dr. Faith left an endowment for the Museum, which allows the Museum to be open for children’s activities free of charge. In addition to the endowment, Museum operations are funded through event rentals, private donations, and grants.
The Museum of Visual Materials opened in 2007 as the first LEED Platinum building in South Dakota. “LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification.”³ Platinum is the highest level achievable. As of 2015, there are only two LEED Platinum buildings in South Dakota.
Today, the Museum has evolved into a children’s activity center, a Museum, an arts and crafts classroom, an art gallery and an event venue. Although Dr. Faithe passed away in 2011, we know Rose would be proud of what she continues to provide to the community through her generosity. Humbly, though, she would never admit it.
¹ Quest for knowledge ends in MD degree. (1964, June 8). Beatrice Daily Sun, p. 1. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
²Doctor, Lawyer, Printer Rose. (1964, June 7). The Lincoln Star, p. 15. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
³Potpourri of Treasures. (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2015.