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Gobsmacked in the Hoosier State

Kate Prinsley, executive officer of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, Australia, received a Churchill Fellowship to study local history in various parts of the world. Kate is visiting the states for four weeks, stopping in Illinois, New York, Washington, D.C., and Indiana. Kate will then travel to England for two weeks.

Kate spent three days this week traveling with IHS's Local History Services team, visiting a few all-volunteer sites and speaking with some county historians about their work. We’ve been learning from each other about how local history organizations work in our countries.

Here are some observations from Kate:

  • Indiana volunteers are powerhouses, mobilizing communities for financial and other kinds of support for local history.
  • Local history groups in Indiana are magnificently supported by the Local History Services Department of IHS.
  • The curriculum standards in Indiana schools focusing on community and local history are a wonderful commitment to the importance of local heritage.

We have learned much from each other this week. We each have shared ideas that we can implement in the future. We know this dialogue will continue, and we look forward to working together in the coming years.

As a part of her Churchill Fellowship, Kate will be publishing the results of the visit to Indiana and other places.

As Kate says, “I was gobsmacked by Indiana and the Indiana Experience.

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Comments (3)

1. Luke Smith says

June 26, 2010 at 7:58 a.m.
Proof positive that Jeff Harris is a nut of the first order. "Gobsmacked," indeed.

2. Brenda Bush says

June 27, 2010 at 1:34 p.m.
Sheridan received Kate right at the launch of our 10-day Sesquicentennial...she caught us huffing and puffing like mad-hatters, but we're always pleased to show-off Boxley Cabin and the Lewis Kercheval restored Civil War flag. Little communities have "little ways," but they can rise to the occasion and do what they can to preserve heritage. It takes desire and goal-setting. Revival of heritage interests begins at home...and though Sheridan is small in population, the community has been bold, forward-looking in terms of preserving and telling its stories, and willing to go the distance to find ways to capture interest in the younger generations. The greatest part of the Sheridan story is that in 2003, the museum and society was two weeks away from closing its doors. By the end of 2009, that mindset had been fully transformed and the society became a renewal agent that provoked the Sheridan community into revitalization. Too many did not know the town's great past...but within 6 short years, the spirit was revived and determined. This is what historical societies can do--they can be dynamic organizations and remind their residents of the great expectations set forth by their predessors. They can evidence case to renew and resume community building--impacting economic development. It just takes a little passion, a lot of marketing, some miracles and plain horse sense! We don't have to be great...we just have to be who we are and forge a few peak moments! We hope our quest inspires our friends in Australia! Thanks to Kate for coming by!

3. Miracle says

April 30, 2011 at 2:04 a.m.
It's spokoy how clever some ppl are. Thanks!