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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — The Vigo County Historical Society is preparing to make some history of its own.

Its museum, the society’s home for 60 years, will close June 1 to prepare for a move to the new downtown history center.

“This will be a monumental project,” Maria Flowers, historical society board president, said in a news release. “Organizing and packing an extensive historical collection of more than 100,000 items is quite an undertaking. There is no way we can keep the current museum open while preparing for the move.”

Renovation of the former Ehrmann Manufacturing Co. facility, more recently home to Glidden Furniture, is expected to be completed in time for a “soft opening” in conjunction with the annual Miracle on Seventh Street Festival in December, Flowers said.

A grand opening will follow once all exhibits are in place, she said.

Fundraising for the renovations continues, said Susan Tingley, director of development for the society.

“We are excited to be at this point thanks to the broad-based support we have received from the community for our capital campaign,” Tingley said.

About $1 million remains to be raised to meet the fundraising goal, according to Tingley. Naming rights remain available for exhibits and areas of the building, she said.

The historical society set about collecting artifacts and documents upon its founding in 1922. Items were stored in homes and other locations until the purchase of the current museum building in 1957.

The museum opened in 1958 with three rooms of displays and has since grown to 18 display rooms on all three levels, said Marylee Hagan, executive director. Additional items are stored throughout the home.

“It will be interesting to go through everything and it’s possible we may come across some real gems that have been stored away,” Hagan said.

“Things are moving forward,” she said. “We have lots of balls in the air and lots of plans. It’s going to be a busy six months.”

The museum’s mission is to preserve items of historical value to Vigo County and things not in keeping with that mission will later be sold at auction, Hagan said.

The new history center will have twice the space of the current facility and will include a 130-seat auditorium, a historic soda fountain, event space and research space.

In addition to the popular Bindley Pharmacy display and the story of the creation of the contour Coca-Cola bottle, exhibits are planned on notable individuals, schools, transportation, business, industry and sports throughout Vigo County history as well as local legends and other subjects.

Technology will be used to help history “come to life,” said Tingley. The history center will also have an exhibit storage area and workshop and publicly accessible archives.

In a project underwritten by Coca-Cola Consolidated, a mural is being painted on the east exterior wall of the building.


Source: (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star,


Information from: Tribune-Star,