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Museum Happenings May 2023

The days are slowly growing longer, and the threat of frost has finally passed. Graduation takes place this month and with it comes a flurry of families eager to mark the occasion. At this time, the Society also bids farewell to our interns and student volunteers from the past semester. Visitors to Indiana will be greeted by orderly landscaping and the handywork of the Evergreen Garden Club at the point in the form of freshly planted flowers. This round of work will also provide a pleasant scene for visitors during this month’s happenings at the Society.


Last month closed with a successful workday for the buildings and grounds committee in preparation for the busy season ahead. The crew took to shaking off the cobwebs of winter in various parts of the Society, bringing in the fresh feeling of spring. April also featured a wonderful talk by author Hilary Hauck on her new book “From Ashes to Song”, thank you to everyone who made the display and event possible. It was a pleasure to see the descendants of the book’s characters in the audience and to hear the music of the era once again fill the air. The good news is that events and activities are just getting started at the HGSIC.

The next Victorian Ladies’ tea is set for Saturday May 20 from 2pm to 4pm. This Society favorite will feature a wonderful program, as well as delectable sweets and savories, not to mention a classic assortment of teas. This time there is the wonderful addition of coffee from Café Amadeus for guests to enjoy. Tickets are $25, with a discounted price of $20 for Society members. Get your tickets now while they are still available through the Society’s website or in person at the HGSIC


The Society has another book talk slated for next month, this time featuring Dr. Kevin Patrick discussing his new book “Near Woods: A Year in an Allegheny Foreston Thursday June 8 at 6:30pm. Per the book’s media release, “In the spirit of Walden, author Kevin Patrick spent a year connecting with White's Woods, a 500-acre tract in an Allegheny forest adjacent to his home in Indiana, Pennsylvania. He captured in prose and photographs the four seasons of this near-woods paradise, weaving natural history with human experience to create a geography of place to stand for all similar near-woods places.” The talk is free to attend and will feature a question-and-answer session followed by refreshments. Interested parties can RSVP through the Society’s website.

On display for the month of May is the “History of Hemlines” exhibit curated by museum chair Katie Gaudreau. Social and political events shape even seemingly mundane items such as fashion and dress. Manifestations of social change through dress can be seen in the clothing in the collection of the HGSIC, a rural county and relatively far from fashionable and socially “important” cities. The exhibit focuses on the years 1900 to 1980. Changing fashions for both men and women from each decade are represented. Visitors can view the display during regular museum hours until the end of the month.

The circus is coming to town! Gene Decker, Tom Crumm, Greta Helsel, Elaine Maudie, Louise Peterman, and Hazel Johnston have been hard work over the last few months documenting the various elements of the circus display and planning its unveiling. The display opens next month on Saturday June 17 from 1pm to 3pm. Visitors can delve into the fascinating history of the circus in Indiana County and view an expansive scale replica on the museum floor.


Save the date for the Murder Mystery Dinner taking place next month on Sunday June 25 at 5pm. The evening will feature the theme “Murder at the Sock Hop” and take place at the Indiana Eagles on Philadelphia Street. There will be raffles and prizes for the best dressed, as well as something special for anyone who correctly solves the case. The fundraiser is a collaborative effort between the Indiana Players Inc. and the Historical Society. Tickets are available through the Historical Society’s website for $35, with a discounted price of $30 for members of both organizations.


Recently, the Society performed network updates, enabling the use of cataloging software in new spaces where it previously did not function. The old entry method saw volunteers painstakingly writing or typing information and reentering it into the cataloging software. This increased the chance of errors and doubled the amount of work it took to complete the job. The new system has already proven to be more accurate and will help the Society to update the inventory of items in the collection.


This month our interns, Daisy Lucero Sanchez and Rania Rashid complete the spring semester. Both students have done an excellent job with their work and greatly aided the historical society in organizing the collection. Rania has also laid the groundwork for future interns interested in the folklore internship. Fortunately, the Society has been in contact with other IUP students who are looking to gain experience in the museum field, and they will be joining our team over the next few months. The Society is grateful for the steady stream of dedicated students the University has provided over the last few years and looks forward to future partnerships.


The coming months serve as the busiest time of the year for the HGSIC. Spring will shortly transition into Summer and numerous traveling genealogists will once again make their way to the Helman Library. There will be no shortage of events to take part in or projects to work on now that the weather is favorable. The continued help of our dedicated volunteers enables the Society to grow and connect people with local history through unique programs and activities. Take advantage of the nice weather and stop by to see some of the wonderful displays and projects these individuals have produced.

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