Students have settled in to yet another semester as frigid temperatures descend on Indiana County. Though the year is still young, much has already happened at the Historical Society. Our organization suffered a great loss with the death of Gary Clawson and is still shocked by its occurrence. Despite this setback and somber mood, volunteers have resumed their work, looking to improve the Society over the course of the next year and beyond.
Gary Clawson was always willing to provide help when it came to genealogy. There was a high chance that visitors to the library tracing their own family history were already part of Gary’s. But genealogy was not Mr. Clawson’s only pursuit at the Society, he was handy with tools and built several items to improve the library and exhibit space. If you could imagine it on paper, Gary could bring it to life in wood, metal, and plastic. Gary’s life experiences were plentiful and always made for a good story, if you had time to listen. If one lesson can be observed from Gary’s time at the Society, it is that the search for genealogy may be filled with the names of ancestors long departed from this earth, but it is the living who you meet along the way who make that search worthwhile.
The spring semester is underway, and the Society has a new intern. Daisy Lucero-Sanchez will be at the museum twice a week to learn how a small historical society functions. Daisy will undertake numerous projects and has already begun running her own assessment of exhibit and collection spaces. Keep an eye on future posts for an article with more about her. The Society is once again thrilled to have an intern on board to help preserve history and develop skills for the professional world.
Just before the Society closed for the holidays, an accident involving two vehicles ended up damaging some of the Society’s property. One of the vehicles slammed into the retaining wall on the Sixth Street side of the Armory, causing chunks to become severed from the structure. Fortunately, nobody was injured, and the damage can be repaired. January was the month of insurance claims and tracking down police reports. Thankfully, the Society’s new camera system did its job and captured the entire incident. The insurance folks have been a pleasure to work with and the end is in sight.
In recent years, January and February have seen a decent stretch of cold days. In conjunction with the frigid temperatures, there is typically increased energy usage and utility costs. After the work done last year, the Armory’s heating system is more resilient and can handle the cold far more efficiently. This has resulted in significantly less gas usage and although the Society is using less gas in colder temperatures, the bill has remained about the same as it was last year at this time due to rising energy costs. The good news, is that the increased efficiency is hopefully putting less stress on the system, significantly lengthening its life.
A new exhibit is now open featuring a host of quilts from the Society’s collection. “Art Through Textiles: Quilts and Quilters of Indiana County, 1850 to 1950” delves into the process of making a quilt and the artistry of the many women who took up the needle and thread. The exhibit hopes to convey that “Quilts are both artistic expression and utilitarian object, and one of the few ways that women were historically able to showcase their artistic abilities and talents in a way that was also ‘useful’ to the family.” The exhibit is free to view and will be on display until the end of March.
The submission period for the “My Indiana County” photo contest has closed and there are plenty of fantastic entries. Now voting will commence during the month of March. Votes are $1 and can be cast online or in person at the Society. The pictures with the most votes will be featured in the new 2024 Historical Society calendar. Winners will be announced at the Trivia Night being held on Friday March 31 from 6pm to 9pm in the Armory. Refreshments will be provided by the HomeMade Restaurant. Tickets are $30, with a discount for members. There will be some excellent prizes. Purchase your ticket online today to test your trivia knowledge and we hope to see you there.
The start to the year has certainly been an interesting one. Despite all of the setbacks, there is plenty of promise. The Society is honored by the time Gary Clawson gave to the organization and looks forward to continuing his memory by making the library and museum an even better place in the year to come.