Mini Inaugural Suit Replica Displays at State Capitol

Dec 4, 2019

A doll wears a miniature replica outfit of South Dakota's First Gentleman Bryon Noem during Gov. Kristi Noem's inaugural day
Credit Lee Strubinger

Nestled in a glass case within the halls of South Dakota's Capitol building is a tuxedo—a little tuxedo.

It’s a miniature replica of First Gentleman Bryon Noem’s outfit worn on Governor Kristi Noem’s inauguration day.

Paula Van Scharrel is committee chairman of the South Dakota Federation of Republican Women, which took on reconstruction of the outfit.

“The governors are recorded in history and a lot is said and written about them and not very much is said about the first ladies in the past,” she said. “But now we have a first gentleman, and so, we want him to record him to be recorded in history too. And this is one way we can do that—through the first ladies, and now, a first gentleman display case.”

The tradition stretches back to the 1900s. Mini replicas of the outfit worn by each first spouse to the inaugural ball are made. Along with the doll, a picture of each governor's family and other mementos are displayed.

Bryon Noem said being included in the display is humbling.

“There’s a lot of first ladies, the ones before me, that did a lot of good things,” he said. “I just want to uphold that and do the best I can. But I think the reveal of the suit is just a great thing.”