Hello VRA members,
I’ve been spending a lot of time at SullivanMunce Cultural Center lately. There are two primary reasons for that. First, I’m nearing the end of research for an upcoming book about Boone County’s history. Because a book already exists specifically for Zionsville (by Joan Lyons which can be purchased at the SullivanMunce gift shop) this one will focus on the entire county with more details about Jamestown, Thorntown and Advance, previously underrepresented towns in our area.
I’m also frequenting the museum preparing for GhostWalk. The event is an annual fundraiser that combines all three areas of SullivanMunce: art, history and genealogy. GhostWalk will be held Oct 1 & 2. Scheduled tours walk around the village past our homes to hear about town anecdotes through several spooky vignettes all based on true local stories. The event always needs volunteers for costumes, makeup, tour guides or performers. If you’re interested in participating let me know.
Thanks to resources at SullivanMunce I’ve been very successful in both endeavors. The museum has a lot to offer anyone searching for local information or simply looking for family history both in and outside of Indiana. This month read about some of these resources and stop in to learn more about our community.
Our neighborhood is planning to come together in person on September 25 at 6 p.m. for the annual VRA picnic. There will be more information in next month’s newsletter but you can put it on your calendar now. We’re also in search of someone to help organize the annual progressive dinner in December. We had a great meeting outdoors in-person in August, and are hopeful that we’ll be able to continue connecting – as safely as possible – through more events moving forward.
Research at SullivanMunce
If you’re in search of local information, the place to go is the SullivanMunce Cultural Center at 225 W. Hawthorne Street, the corner of 2nd and Hawthorne.
Many people who live in the Village are interested in learning more about the history of their homes. They may also want to learn about those who lived in their home before them. The museum has information on file for some houses plus there are many photographs from the community. The museum also houses donated deeds, abstracts, maps and hundreds of other items.
“The neat thing about helping people with their research is that you never know what someone will be hoping to find until they come in and ask—and we love for people to come in and ask!” said Museum Director Kristina Huff.
“The best thing for us is when someone comes in to ask about something we haven’t ever even thought to ask about before,” said Huff. “Helping people with their searches helps us learn too.”
In addition to Zionsville history the genealogy library has information from Boone County and beyond. The museum has a dedicated volunteer genealogist, Jennifer Van Horn, who can assist with basic questions on Wednesdays, although scheduling an appointment will ensure staff is available to help.
The genealogy library houses an extensive collection of Boone County newspapers accessible by microfilm starting in the mid-19th century. There’s also a series of local Sanborn maps and plat maps.
Keep in mind that virtually everyone at SullivanMunce is a volunteer so they may not always be available unless you’ve scheduled an appointment. However guests are welcome to walk into the genealogy library and explore the materials available. Please remember that the materials must stay at the museum; they don’t circulate like a public library. For certain materials or photographs gloves may be requested.
While the museum has some items that can be viewed digitally online (https://www.sullivanmunce.org/online-historical-collection.html) not everything is there as the process to add new items is very time-consuming. By bringing patience and a spirit of adventure, a researcher like Huff can help find creative ways to help narrow down your request.
There is a fee for copies or for time-consuming research requests, but contact the museum or visit the website for more information.