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Museum Happenings July 2022

Summer is here and with it has come a tremendous response to recent Society events. Fortunately, there are plenty more exciting programs planned for the coming months. Clark House projects continue to progress as the home moves one step closer to a restored state. Continued support from our intern and volunteers has allowed the Society to further organize the collections and serve visitors who pass through the museum doors. None of this would be possible without the Society’s growing number of members and supporters within the community, who provide the financial backing and support necessary to keep history alive in Indiana County.


June was incredibly successful from an event perspective. The Society saw great attendance at the Murder Mystery Dinner and ended up selling out all ninety tickets. The evening brought in funds to the Historical Society and the Indiana Players. Special thanks to the Players for providing the actors and to Mary Jo Bowes for writing the script, as well as Michael Schwartz and Kathie Kerns for bringing their experience of dinner theater to the event. The Bridal Display reception also saw a tremendous turnout and the exhibit stirred numerous happy memories for those in attendance. The Society was fortunate to have many of the brides in attendance who wore the dresses featured in the exhibit. Special thanks to White Lace Bridal for providing a dress from 2022 and Indiana Floral for developing fantastic floral displays for the exhibit. If you have not had the chance to visit the museum and see the Bridal Exhibit, it will be on display until July 22, 2022.

The cast of the Murder Mystery Dinner.

This month, the Society will be hosting a member appreciation reception on July 12 starting at 6:30pm. This will be an opportunity to tour new exhibits, learn about some of the many projects underway, and meet other Society supporters. The night will also feature light refreshments in the form of wine and cheese. The Society wishes to recognize the tremendous support it has received from its membership over the last year and is thrilled to see those numbers steadily growing. Without its membership, the Society’s reach and capabilities would be far less than it currently is. Those interested in attending can call the Society or rsvp at hgsic.org/events.


In early August, the Society will be hosting the opening of an exhibit on Jim Nance. The display was formerly part of the Appalachian Folk Festival and is now in the care of the historical society. An opening reception will take place on August 4th and will feature light refreshments. Interested parties can secure their spot on the Society’s website.


Finally, the second annual Night at the Museum is slated to once again bring the exhibits to life on August 12 from 6:00pm to 8:00 pm. Visitors will be able to roam the grounds from the point to Memorial Park, interacting with figures drawn from more than two hundred years of Indiana County history. The evening will feature a new cast of historical figures, each with a unique connection to the area. There will also be a host of antique vehicles on display for visitors to enjoy this year as an added feature. This event is FREE to attend and serves as a unique way to step back in time and watch the past come to life.


It was recently brought to the Society’s attention that some of the content in past newsletters contained outdated and insensitive language. Historical writings often do not conform to modern standards and often reflect the period in which they were written. Considering recent feedback and the changing times, the Society will be more selective in what content it prints in the future and will provide fair warning at the beginning of an article if it contains potentially offensive language.

The Clark House projects mentioned in last month’s newsletter are already complete. With an excellent turnaround, M&T Contracting has produced a fantastic product. The new railing system has exceeded expectations and the restored doors now give the house an entirely different feel. Certain elements of the exterior will now undergo yearly inspection to ensure that they stay in top shape. A small amount of money invested yearly will prevent the need for major restorations in the future. The next project on the list is to perform a similar repair on the railing system connected to the east porch, which has long been out of sync with the style of the structure. If you are interested in supporting this project and others related to the mansion, consider giving to the Clark House Fund, which is designed to finance the continued restoration and interpretation of the home and its residents. Intern Katelyn McCormick has taken well to the Society’s cataloging system and is doing a great job organizing collection spaces. Katelyn has devised and implemented a plan to number collection storage areas and verify the inventory of each box. This system will ensure that the exact location of items can be known and will make retrieval easier when populating displays and conducting research. Katelyn also had the chance to help at the Bridal reception and did a fantastic job welcoming guests that evening. Work for the remainder of the semester will include research and developing content for new exhibits. In an effort to improve collection care, the society recently installed temperature and humidity sensors in the Silas Clark House in every room. Each item stores relevant data and allows society staff to adjust the climate based on the collected figures. Additional dehumidifiers have been added to the basement to combat excessive moisture detected shortly after the sensors were installed. In other news, efforts to renovate the gift shop continues with painting and arrangement of new display units. The goal is to have a fresh lineup of items stocked and ready for the end of summer. Finally, it should be noted that Ruth Barkey, Sonya Stewart, and Karen Wegener have contributed an exceptional amount of time in their effort to aid researchers, field phone calls, and assist with research requests in the library. Their help has enabled the continued success of the Society.


The first half of 2022 is through, and the Society is on budget, with income matching projected figures. Membership continues to grow, as more people support the work of the Society. A slew of great events has already taken place and there are many more planned to pad out the rest of the year. The volume of interest in local history continues to soar as more members of the community come together to support preserving the past of this great county.