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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wabash Co. Historical Museum Upcoming Events

NEW TEMPORARY EXHIBIT! Out From the Shadow of Lincoln: Stephen A. Douglas

We just completed installing our new exhibit on Stephen Douglas. Although today we recognize his name mostly from the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Stephen Douglas was a famous, powerful, and highly-respected politician in the 1850s. He died at the age of 48 in 1861, soon after Lincoln took office. He is overshadowed by Lincoln—no doubt—and this exhibit gives us a chance to see him on his own. (Did you know that after losing the election to Lincoln in 1860, Douglas embarked on a speaking tour of the border states, at Lincoln’s request?)

The exhibit also explores how politicians got their message out to the public, before the days of 24-hour cable news, Facebook, and Twitter. You’ll also get a look, through newspaper articles, at how Douglas was viewed by people living in Wabash County. The exhibit will be here until May 29, 2010. The collection then goes to the Old Statehouse in Springfield, Illinois, so there is no chance it will be held over. Make plans to see it now!


Our next speaker for the History Hunters event is Kyle Coble. Kyle has been researching the Big Four Railroad Shops for years and has developed an extensive collection of period photographs. The Big Four Railroad Shops were located on East Market Street, where Paradise Spring is today. As a result of having the railroad shops here in town, Wabash became quite a prosperous city of the time. This is a fascinating piece of Wabash County history. Don’t miss it! History Hunters events are sponsored by Peabody Retirement Community. Thank you Peabody! Reservations are suggested. This event is free for members or with a paid daily admission.


Come hear authors Gladys Harvey and Ron Woodward discuss their new book, Wabash County Chronicles: Raucous Quirky and Essential Tales. This event will be held in the multipurpose room of the museum. Admission is free to the book signing and discussion. (Regular admission rates apply to the museum.)

From The History Press: “Just about fifty years before lights atop the courthouse put Wabash in the record books, a gang of squirrels came marauding through the area, denuding the trees and crops. Of course, the farmers fought back with guns; the kids with clubs. This happened just about the time of the Irish canal worker infighting; those boys attacked one another with everything they had. Oh, and there are the unexplained monster sightings and things of that nature. But really, it's not all bizarre. After all, Wabash was the first electrically lighted city, and there are scores of heroes and important businesses. There's just so much to hear about. Come along with authors Ron Woodward and Gladys Harvey as they share the strange and important history of this old Indiana county.”


Ron Woodward was born and raised in New Albany, Indiana. He has taught in the Greater Clark County school system, Muncie schools system and Wabash City Schools. He has also taught at the Upper Wabash Vocational School and a methods class at Manchester College. He has served as president of the Wabash County Historical Society and Wabash County Genealogical Society, which he helped to form. He has served as Wabash County historian since 1981 and was a sponsor of the Indiana Junior Historical Society club for twenty-five years.

Gladys Dove Harvey was born on a farm in Daviess County, Indiana. Receiving a county scholarship, she attended and graduated from Indiana State Teachers College. After the war, she obtained a master's degree at Indiana University. She then taught in LaPorte County and West Lafayette. She became the Wabash High School librarian, a position she held for forty years. For a brief time, she served as interim librarian at the Wabash Carnegie Public Library and taught English at Ivy Tech College in Wabash.


Spring break is just around the corner! This is a great time to bring your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews to visit the museum! Our theme for this event is “Down on the Farm” and we’ll have farm-related crafts (including a barnyard balloon animal craft that is just too cute!), games, and a critter or two to pet. Sponsored by The Bash 105.9. This event is free for members or with a paid daily admission.


The museum has a great little theater. There are so many movies with ties to Indiana and even to Wabash County. We’ve been tossing around the idea of a movie club for quite awhile and you are among the first to know that we are kicking it off on Thursday, April 22 at 6 pm. We will watch “Coal Miner’s Daughter” starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones. The movie is about country singer Loretta Lynn.

What is the connection to Wabash County? Well, Loretta’s sister, Crystal Gayle, grew up in Wabash and their mother lived here for decades. Also, John Corso, a member of the WCHM’s Board of Directors, was an Art Director for Universal Studios, which produced the movie. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction for creating the sets in this great movie. John moved back to Wabash after he retired and will be here to talk about making this movie. DON’T MISS THIS! I guarantee you’ll be amazed at the stories John will share with you. His talk will start after the movie, about 8 pm.

Make your reservations NOW! The theater only seats 32 people! Admission is $5 per person.

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