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The Mysteries of History
Sometimes the work of a history researcher can be a wonderful journey of finding clues and solving mysteries. However, sometimes it can be just the opposite. There are times when the clues just don’t add up and the pieces do not fall into place with ease. Such has been the case with a recent project that the exhibits staff has been invested in for some time now, involving the incredibly rich history of the Lakeview Home near Monticello.
For an upcoming You Are There experience, the exhibits team was planning to recreate an image of a woman baking bread in what we believed to be the kitchen of the Lakeview Home (the county poor farm) in White County. The image was rich and deep, and the story behind it even more so. The team made several trips up to the home, investigating details of the kitchen space, the living quarters, the basements, attic and grounds, as well as records held by the White County Historical Society that shed light on the lives of those who had lived and worked in the home. We felt connected to this story and loved the opportunities for interaction, conversation and historical interpretation that this photograph provided.
However, in the end, key elements of the photograph (windows, doors, etc.) just did not match up to the building itself. We could not confirm with certainty that the image had been taken in that very kitchen, nor could we identify the woman baking bread. After running ads in the local paper and historical society newspaper and following every lead that came our way, we had to finally accept that we could not confirm enough details to make this project happen. We encourage people to look into the history of the Lakeview Home ... it is rich with the stories we love so much about Indiana history and those who bring it to life!
Eloise Scroggins is the director of exhibitions research and
development at the IHS. She believes that telling a good story involves
not only solid research and impeccable design, but most importantly, a
good sense of humor and a playful imagination.