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Museum Happenings August 2023

The summer heat has settled in as the constant whir of the air conditioning fan can be heard in the Armory. The Clark House is not so lucky, as temperatures hold at a constant 85 degrees in many of the rooms. With July over, the Society turns its attention to Night at the Museum, the largest event of the year. Between planning events and exhibits, the occasional surprise will present itself. This time it came in the form of a lovely leaning flagpole. However, despite this setback, the Society has been able to continue moving forward and setting its sights on accomplishing many of its goals.

The Circus has finally left town this month after a successful run on the main exhibit floor. The Society had a fine variety of visitors over the course of the display and received many nice comments. The HGSIC also had the pleasure of receiving a visit from Paul McGregor’s daughter and learned more of the story behind the intricately constructed artifact. As an added bonus, one of the wagons that was initially in the possession of the family after Paul’s passing has since been donated back to the Society.

The July after-hours hosted by the Society, in conjunction with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, went incredibly well. The evening helped to introduce the museum and its many exhibits to the business community. Wendy Weeks from the Homemade Restaurant produced a delightful assortment of food. Other refreshments included cupcakes by Laura Lenz and an assortment of dips by the Program Committee. Wesley Wertz did a fantastic job bartending for the night and served a cotton candy martini, which was the popular drink for the evening.

A recent storm caused the Society’s flagpole to produce a slight lean towards the Armory. After a day had passed it was noticeably worse; clearly, it was time to take immediate action. Unique Service Applications, a company based in Pittsburgh that specializes in flagpoles, assessed the situation and indicated the pole could topple at any moment. The company spent the day delicately neutralizing the situation, removing the threat of imminent tipping from occurring. The Society is currently awaiting a quote from the company to reinstall the flagpole and ensure the canvas can fly safely once more above the Armory. A special thank you to our neighbors Peggy and John for first bringing the issue to our attention.

Publication deadlines can be tricky. The Society’s schedule for publishing the newsletter dictates that all content be ready for print around the middle of the month, with printing generally occurring during the following week. During this period, there are occasions when events overlap with the publication. Sometimes, a review occurs of an event that has not happened yet; otherwise, it becomes old news by the time the next issue comes around. In an effort to be transparent and honest with our readers, I wanted to clarify that the recent Murder Mystery Dinner held in June did NOT go well by any means. The evening did not meet the Society’s measure of quality, and so we are in the process of evaluating its faults. Despite all of the drawbacks and issues with the event, many folks did voice that they had a good time. However, these were long time veterans of Society events, and they had the opportunity to experience many quality programs prior to this one. The saddening part was that new folks who had never attended a Society event were greeted with a negative first impression of what we offer. The Society is not pleased with the quality of the event and is working to address the issues which occurred, with the goal of fixing them and returning with a better event in the future. If you are a new member and have little positive context to put this event into, please keep attending events to see what is possible! If you have a history of attending Society events and have found them to be of high quality, please reassure those folks who may have less experience that: one, this was an aberration, and two, we work hard to make sure attending Society events is a great way to spend time and improve the community.

The museum committee will be furnishing a Colonial Homestead exhibit at the end of the month, exploring various elements of life on the frontier. Work also continues on a redesign of the Native American display. Extensive planning is going into this exhibit, with installation likely to take place in 2024 per current plans. If you would like to support this and future redesign efforts, the Society is accepting donations to make these exhibit changes possible.

Another Ladies Tea is on the horizon and will be held on September 9, 2023, from 2-4 p.m. in the Clark House. Mary Jo Bowes will once again furnish the program and bring with her a delightful group of performers. She has compiled poems by Judith Viorst which will explore Viorst’s amusing takes on aging. A filling supply of tea and pastries will also be available for guests as they enjoy the program. Tickets are $25 and must be purchased in advance. Hurry, though, because this is one Society favorite that tends to sell out quickly. Act now and secure your seat today!

Life at the Society appears to be striking the constant balance managing the wear and tear of everything old. These tasks keep volunteers busy at all times, working together to preserve two historic buildings, as well as the mountains of documents and artifacts that fill them. The battle can be tough sometimes, but fighting to preserve the past and make it available for future generations is worth every small victory. Each item that is preserved enriches the narrative of Indiana County’s past and is a valuable resource for future generations to enjoy.

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