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About Us

Local History Services is staffed by quirky people who know the ins and outs of working in a small local history organization. Meet Tamara HemmerleinJeannette Rooney, Jamie Simek and Karen DePauw.


Tamara Hemmerlein

Director, Local History Services

How I ended up in this field

In my pre-museum life, I was a Medievalist specializing in Spanish literature. I decided that while I liked reading and studying medieval history, I just wasn’t passionate enough to spend the rest of my life doing it. I’ve done a lot of different things including working in retail sales, being a member of the National Guard and being a teaching assistant. I learned from all of my jobs, but nothing really grabbed me. Then, I was hired for my first museum job and discovered my real passion. Now, I can’t imagine working in any other field.

Favorite place to stop when on the road in Indiana

Any place with really good ice cream calls to me.

Favorite non-Indiana historical organization

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. – it’s amazing to watch people stand in front of the Gettysburg Address carved on the wall and see the impact of the words as they read.

Favorite quotation

“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work…” – Daniel Burnham

Why I am passionate about working in Local History Services

I love visiting local history organizations. Getting to travel all over Indiana working with colleagues and learning from them is a great experience. I’m inspired by what local organizations accomplish and very proud of what we do in Indiana. And, I love being a part of the history community.

Something you should know about me

I read all of the time; I would read in the shower if I could!

 

Jeannette Rooney

Assistant Director, Local History Services

How I ended up in this field

I came to it in a roundabout way. My background is in Art History which I am passionate about for its visual representation of history (sometimes literal and often idealized). An internship with the National Archives exhibits department allowed me to study Civil War documents first-hand and fueled my interest in history exhibits and their development. Before starting at IHS, I worked on a field survey of historic bridges in Indiana which allowed me to travel the state (which is one of my favorite things to do) and to learn a new aspect of history that I hadn't experienced before. In this line of work, it is wonderful to be able to learn new things all the time.

Favorite place to stop when on the road in Indiana

Indiana Dunes – great views!

Favorite non-Indiana historical organization

The National Archives in Washington, D.C. – I have been there many times, but I still get goosebumps when I see the original Declaration of Independence.

Favorite quotation

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”  – Mark Twain

Why I am passionate about working in Local History Services

In working with historians and historical organizations around the state, we get to meet people who are incredibly dedicated to preserving the past and sharing it with others. I love that we can provide services to help them on this journey. My particular interest is in marketing design and social media and how museums can utilize these tools to continue to grow and reach their audiences in new and exciting ways.

Something you should know about me

I love to travel, and my favorite place in the world (so far) is Hadrian’s Wall in the U.K.

 

Jamie Simek

Fundraising Educator

How I ended up in this field

Joining the LHS team was the result of a very deliberate decision to merge my background in educational leadership and program development with my personal passion for public history. I was fortunate to spend the first part of my career in higher education administration working with students, alumni, and corporate and community partners. I was able to help small groups – from student organizations to alumni chapters – improve their programming from the inside out, and I loved the relationship-building aspect of the work. But history was my "would have, could have, should have...". I always regretted not pursuing it as a career. I finally plucked up enough courage to make a mid-career change and focus my skills on helping those who also share my love of local and family history. Serendipity brought me to IHS just as Heritage Support Grants program was announced.

Favorite place to stop when on the road in Indiana

I love to stop at mom and pop restaurants that are known for their... (fill in the blank – I'm not picky). 

Favorite non-Indiana historical organization

I really enjoy the Missouri Civil War Museum at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis. I am so impressed by the grassroots, volunteer-driven efforts of the organization, as well as their commitment to historic preservation and sharing the long history of that military installation.

Favorite quotation

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did do." - anonymous

Why I am passionate about working in Local History Services

I love social history. I am fascinated by how historic events affected the everyday lives of people, and vice versa. The best place to study this is at the local level. We are fortunate to have historical organizations and volunteers working so diligently to collect, preserve, interpret and share their community's history. I am motivated by the opportunity to learn from local historians and support them in their efforts. 

Something you should know about me

My perfect day would start with coffee, chocolate croissants, blues music and genealogy. It would end with chicken parmesan, red wine, big band and my family.

 

Karen DePauw (right)

Coordinator, Local History Services

How I ended up in this field

I've known since high school that I wanted to work in museums, the idea of teaching but not in a classroom was always appealing.  When it came time to get a master's degree I decided to take a slightly different route and studied historic costumes and textile conservation.  Working with museum collections has been amazing, and after six years at the Connecticut Historical Society, I decided my favorite part of my job was working with and helping others in the field.  While spending three weeks at IHS during the Seminar for Historical Administration in November, I met some of the LHS staff and thought "wow...I want to work here!"  Luckily, within a few short months, that wish came true and I moved back to the Midwest (born and raised in Illinois) and joined the LHS team.

Favorite Place to stop when on the road in Indiana

Being new to Indiana everything is new and exciting!!

Favorite non-Indiana historical organization

Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site in Illinois.  It is where I fell in love with history and it will always be special to me.

Favorite quotations

"The only person who holds the definition of who you are, is you." - Montel Williams
"What are the chances you were born?" - Fr. Creiden

Why I am passionate about working in Local History Services

For me it is about getting to know the people.  Getting to know the boots-on-the-ground individuals keeping our history alive in their individual ways.  Our stuff is important, as are our stories, but we can never forget about the individuals who keep those things and stories alive and share them with others.

Something you should know about me

If you are looking for a random skill you would expect from a prairie house wife, you've found your woman!  Sewing, spinning, darning, cooking on an open fire...you name it and I've probably at least tried it.