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How Much Do You Care About the History of Another? – The Sequel

The Local History Services blogs don't usually generate a lot of comments, so when my April post prompted several responses, I finished the last crumbs of my cookie pie from Hoaglin To Go (a too-convenient elevator ride to the Stardust Terrace Café on the canal level of the Indiana History Center) and eagerly read them.

The commenters responded to the question in the title with a resounding, “YES!” Several commenters were names I recognized as those of some of the most dedicated volunteers we have at the Indiana Historical Society: the county historians. They are the hubs of local history, connecting anyone seeking information about a county with either the answer or the right place to look to find it. (This joint program of IHS and the Indiana Historical Bureau just celebrated its 30th anniversary last year and is as active as ever!)

The comment that really struck a chord with me was from Elkhart County Historian Marcia Brenneman: “I think we get so involved with the process [of doing local history] that we forget or ignore what we are preserving and saving for.”  Marcia echoed something I remember from a Seminar for Historical Administration session I attended in 2006. Bob Archibald, president of the Missouri History Museum, said that he started every board meeting with a five-minute (or less) story of an object from their collections. He thought that reminding the board about WHY they were sifting through budget information or discussing conflict of interest policies made the meetings more focused and productive.

So, while we may not be able to solve the mystery of “The Lincoln Eagle” at our next workshop or meeting, we can make a point to share some compelling history. Since my time is short today and I now know that our readers are looking for a local history fix, I will send you an interesting story dug up by Amy Vedra in the IHS Collections Department about a Man Once Thought Dead Elected Governor.



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