Known for “antiques, vintage, and curiosities,” Urban Archaeology not only has unique finds, but it’s all in a well-designed, impeccable space in downtown Sioux Falls. 

Curator and co-owner of Urban Archaeology Dustin DeBoer has had the business with wife, Rachel, since 2015, and what clients see in the brick-and-mortar is only just the beginning of what they have in stock. 

Recently the DeBoers partnered with the Washington Pavilion to create “The Parlor of Peculiarities.” The artistic display is exhibited until April 15 and gives “the Gilded Age feel of a Sherlock Holmes den.” 

605 chatted with Dustin on their business, how they’re involved in the community, and what the duo likes to do outside of their creative space.

PEOPLE MIGHT KNOW ME FROM… the band WeLiveinSodHouses. 

OUR LOVE FOR ANTIQUES STARTED… early in life for me, and then I infected Rachel with the love for odd old things when we met many years ago. We incorporated vintage design and historically-conscious and sustainable living into our way of life. 

CUSTOMERS WHO COME IN LOOK FOR… a variety of things, like furniture, vintage clothing, records, record players, lighting, vintage/antique jewelry, books, art, toys, and just for the nostalgia. We have some element of participation and something to appeal to everyone. 

THE WASHINGTON PAVILION EXHIBIT CAME TO BE BECAUSE… they expressed an interest in us finding items that fit the theme “Parlor of Peculiarities.” 

WHAT WE LOVED ABOUT PUTTING TOGETHER THE EXHIBIT WAS… working within a theme. We enjoyed finding things for a specific purpose. I really enjoyed collaboration with the enthusiastic crew at the Washington Pavilion. 

MID-CENTURY MODERN HAS RISEN IN POPULARITY, IN MY OPINION, BECAUSE… the well-designed furniture of that era had a sense of form and function that made it fit with the modern lifestyle. It was about beautiful woodgrain, experimental materials, masterful design, and an ethos that considered how this creation might make your life better somehow. 

ONE OF MY FAVORITE “VINTAGE CURIOSITIES” HAS BEEN… an RCA Iconoscope Live Television Tube made in the 1950s. If you did live TV at that time, you did it with this tube. But, lately, it would have to be our Graphlex Graphic 4”x5” journalist’s camera with the three-cell flash, which is also the same one used to make Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber in Star Wars. It’s hard to say what is my favorite when I’m passionate about it all. 

A STORY I’LL NEVER FORGET FROM FINDING VINTAGE PIECES WAS… many years ago we attended a sale of items found in the hidden room behind someone’s closet. It was filled, packed to the ceiling with the most interesting and bizarre items from an old taxi driver. He had signed photos of all of his favorite characters in film and stage from the 1930s-50s, crazy books, films, lots of toys, and ephemera in that oddly large secret room. Everything else in the home, outside of that secret room, had to be thrown away, but the memory of the wonders in that room will never leave us. 

ONE OF THE OLDEST PIECES WE’VE HAD AT THE STORE WAS… a pottery footed bowl from the 15th century. 

WHAT PEOPLE MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT URBAN ARCHAEOLOGY IS… that we have products ranging from $1 up to the thousands, and have more than can be shown on the floor. We love to find items for everyone and have also worked with interior designers for many years to find the perfect items to complete their home or business. 

SOMETHING WE’RE DOING WITH OUR BUSINESS RIGHT NOW THAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT IS… that we will be doing a show in April showing a collection of photographs from our very own vintage film cameras sold here, and also put the spotlight on the talented local artists who took them. Film is coming back with a new perspective, and we want to invite everyone to stop in and check it out. We will post dates for the opening online and in the shop. 

WHEN I WALK AROUND DOWNTOWN, ONE OF MY FAVORITE PLACES TO STOP BY IS… the Old Courthouse Museum. We, of course, love to walk down Phillips Avenue with our family and stop by all the stores. We make an effort to support other local businesses, as so many of them have supported us over the years. It is such a hardworking and passionate community. 

SOMETHING THAT IS INFLUENCING ME RIGHT NOW IS… a large collection of 1960’s civil rights ephemera. From Kennedy correspondence, civil disobedience, to the March on Washington. 

I LOVE TO GRAB A BITE OR DRINK AT… any restaurant downtown. There is such a variety, with each one having its own specialty. You’re sure to never run out of new options to eat. 

MY FAVORITE PLACE TO GO FOR INSPIRATION IS… our humble acreage on a hill overlooking the Big Sioux River valley. We remodeled an old 1800s farm into what is our home today. You really appreciate the craftsmanship and love when you’re designing and building it yourself. 

ONE THING I LOVE ABOUT SOUTH DAKOTA IS… that there is a spirit of individuality, but also a strong sense of community, inclusion, and participation. 





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