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Two Outstanding Organizations Answer Three Questions

Indiana Historical Society Director of Local History Services Jeff Harris interviews Bernie J. Vogler, Dubois County Museum president, and Stanley Madison, chairman of the board of Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corporation, to find out what’s going on in their communities.

Bernie J. Vogler, president Dubois County MuseumDuboisCounty


What are some of your area’s history highlights?

The Dubois County area was first settled in the early part of the 19th century by Protestants from the Carolinas and eastern Kentucky. They came by way of the Buffalo Trace in the northern part of the county. In the 1830s, the German Catholics started to arrive because the German-speaking Father Kundeck was the pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Jasper and because of the bountiful hardwood forests in the area. Many of these German people were wood craftsman. The county became a center for people of great faith. We are a county of hard-working people.

What projects do you have underway?

We are continuing mural projects in the museum. We recently dedicated our eighth mural. The murals will represent every town in the area, and the communities themselves select their own images for their mural. We’re also opening a typical 1890s Dubois County village in our museum. It’s about a 6,000-square-foot area, and we’re stocking it with typical furnishings and items. For instance, there’s a bar and a doctor’s office that use local artifacts.

What kinds of outreach programs do you have planned?

The village is an outreach program as well as the mural projects. We offer things for schools – for instance we will offer a Lincoln Days for second-grade students. We have Heritage Days for fourth-grade students in April. There is all kinds of information from geology to Lincoln on those days, and schools from all over southern Indiana come to the museum. We have speakers telling local stories that reach adults, too. Other outreach programs include the Strassenfest, Archaeology Day and the Festival of Trees. All are designed to draw in people from different walks of life. •

The Dubois County Museum is at 2704 N. Newton St. (Highway 231) in Jasper. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Call them at (812) 634-7733 or visit them online at www.duboiscountymuseum.org.

Stanley Madison, chairman of the board Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corporation
Lyles


What are some of your area’s history highlights?

We are an African-American museum, community center and educational facility. We bring in school kids from within a 45-mile radius to the old school. They get a chance to see how their great-grandparents attended school – they visit a heritage school classroom of the 1920s and experience a full day of school the way it used to be. The kids really get the full impact of the rural African-American school experience – they even have to use the outhouses and the water pump outside. They really learn to relate to the 1920s. We use the school agenda of the time – Pledge of Allegiance, school prayer and other subjects are taught. Recess also features the games of the day. What tops it off is the kids get a certificate and coloring book to remember the experience. On a two-hour field trip, the students experience hands-on activities like candle making, shelling corn and using a washboard. We bring senior citizens who lived this experience as a child going to school. It is a win-win situation when generations get to meet and learn from each other.

What projects do you have underway?

In our project phase two, we’d like to build a large peg barn to teach agricultural history like butter churning and milking. This spring, we’re putting together a period flower garden – about two acres. We’ll have a section for kids to learn the horticultural basics. We’ll have Master Gardeners and other groups help put this together.

What kinds of outreach programs do you have planned?

For our future plans, one of the ongoing things is an educational assistance program – a tutoring program we’ve had up and running since 2005 or so. Finding the funding was a great challenge, but once it was in place, the project grew. We are looking for future plans, working with Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts and church camps. We are hoping to buy 17 additional acres and are looking for funding to assist in that. This would be a campsite and retreat area, where we can do more educational aspects like science and can bring in more kids and have more activities going on at the same time.

The Historic Lyles Station Consolidated School is at 953 County Road 500 W in Princeton. It’s open on Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m.; from June through August, it’s also open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. Call them at (812) 385-2534 or visit them online at www.lylesstation.org.