MEET THE COUNTY HISTORIANS
Did you know that there is a volunteer county historian for almost* every county in Indiana? In this program, co-sponsored by the Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana Historical Bureau, historians serve renewable three-year terms. A few county historians have served since the program began in 1981! Over the course of my ten years at IHS, I have had the honor of working with these passionate individuals and seeing their dedicated work for local history.
The county historians love what they do, and they have great stories to tell. They know the quirky, long-forgotten histories of their communities, they tell ghost stories, they trace family lines and occasionally find skeletons in closets. Some county historians have reunited long lost family members with one another. Others have compiled and donated entire libraries of historic documents. Many preserve cemeteries, write books, guide tours and present programs on everything from canals to the great squirrel migration. They serve on the boards of local history organizations, manage Facebook pages and find creative ways to get children excited about history. Just this week, we chatted with a county historian who is excited to be helping a family research their genealogy.
And they do it all on their own time. Last year, county historians statewide logged over 32,000 hours. While some county historians are retired citizens, many are also full-time teachers, museum directors, dry cleaners, attorneys, librarians, farmers, history professors and stay-at-home parents. The county historian program is fairly unique – very few states have a program like it. We truly appreciate the commitment each county historian has for their work. With their help, Indiana's history is being preserved for the future.
*There are a few vacancies currently – let us know if you want the job!
|Jeannette Rooney is the coordinator for Local History Services at IHS. She travels the state with her LHS team members to assist local history organizations. Why? Because history rocks (and we get to make lots of ice cream stops)!|