Saturday, November 29, 2008

General Lew Wallace Stars as Christmas Parade Grand Marshal


One of Montgomery County’s famous faces will be leading this year’s Crawfordsville Christmas Parade on Sunday, December 7.

Crawfordsville’s own General Lew Wallace, portrayed by living history presenter Bernie O’Bryan, will be this year’s Grand Marshal, leading the parade alongside Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, Director of the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum and Dale Petrie, President of the Lew Wallace Study Preservation Society Board of Trustees.

“We’re delighted to ride alongside General Wallace during the Christmas parade in his hometown,” said Catlin-Legutko. “It’s an honor for our organization to be a part of this great holiday tradition.”

This honor comes during the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum’s most successful years to date. This year, the Museum was awarded the National Medal for Museum Service, the highest honor for museums who make their communities better places to live. Catlin-Legutko and Petrie will accept the Medal during a special presentation by a Crawfordsville City Council member in front of the courthouse square at the beginning of the day’s events. After the presentation, Catlin-Legutko and Petrie will ride alongside “Wallace” in a carriage at the front of the parade.

O’Bryan, a member of the Mid States Living History Association, has portrayed Wallace before at July’s Civil War Encampment weekend, and again during the second Taste of Montgomery County in September.

--Kara Edie, Visitor Services & Marketing Coordinator

Fall into the Holidays



Fall has come and gone here at the Study. The colorful leaves have fallen and mowers have been put away for the winter. The ground is on its way to being frozen and the first snow storm is being predicted. The myrtle is still blooming and the hydrangea blooms have become Christmas decorations!

The holiday open house is December 14 from 1-4:30 and the Carriage House Interpretive Center has been apropriately decorated. We've decorated 2 trees this year, depicting the Victorian age and the Civil War era. Homemade ornaments, tinsel, pinecones and bead garland are used for the Victorian tree, while the Civil War tree has apples, pears, pomegranates, and dried hydrangea blooms.


Garlands have been strung and the gift shop is fully stocked with a wide array of Christmas gifts. Don't forget members of the Lew Wallace Preservation Society get a discount!
It's the last time the 2008 exhibit, Lew Wallace-Gentleman Scientist will be on display. The 2009 exhibit is being planned and a full calendar of events is in the works!
--Deb King, Grounds Manager

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yipppeee!

Yipppeee! We’ve being saying that a lot around here these days! With the National Medal award, it’s been an incredible fall at the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum. The staff and I are committed to excellence in museum programming and operations and to have this dedication awarded at the top level is more than we dreamed for ourselves. I am truly grateful to our members, donors, and volunteers for helping us make the dreams possible and for inspiring us look to the future with great optimism.

I am excited to share with you that the board has adopted a new strategic plan. Our first plan ended in September of this year with all of our goals met, which in the beginning seemed like an extremely tall order. With your help our first strategic plan was realized and the museum was positioned for accolades. Again, thank you.

The next five years will build on our high standard of excellence established through innovative programs and events like the Lew Wallace Youth Academy, the Historic Preservation Workshop Series, Annual Theme Exhibit and Programs, and the Taste of Montgomery County. It is equally critical to consider the small museum environment that this success was built in – the staff wear multiple “hats” and are regularly bound by budget constraints. As a result, the objectives outlined in our new plan are carefully measured for strength and feasibility.

Heading into the planning process, the board and staff understood that the focus of the plan needed to rest on a three key objectives: restore the study structure, evolve into a self-sustaining organization, and become the “best small museum in the Midwest.” With these in mind, the plan was developed during a series of board retreats held July 19, August 16, and September 20, 2008. Facilitated by Herm Haffner of Total Solutions, the planning process included an in-depth examination of the organization’s core competencies, mission, vision, and charge. With consensus in place, Haffner led the group through discussions regarding assumptions, budget, and human resources. Strategic planning activities included internal and external situation analyses, consideration of weaknesses and problems, comparative analysis of organizational peers, threat analysis, consideration of advantages and opportunities, and finally, establishing objectives.

We have established ten strategic objectives that will help us meet our charge to be a key cultural asset for our community’s continued well-being. To do this, we will:
-Provide innovative cutting edge programs and operations
-Create individualized experiential learning
-Become financially self sustaining
-Provide continued stewardship of collections and historic structures
-Focus on activities that add value to the study and the community
-Serve as a model to the larger small museum community

I invite you to read the entire plan and join our enthusiasm by following this link: http://www.ben-hur.com/GLWSM_2009-2012_Plan.pdf . I look forward to the next five years and the incredible support of our members, donors, and volunteers. Yipppeee!

--Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, Museum Director

Monday, November 10, 2008

General Lew Wallace Study and Museum honored at Crawfordsville City Council meeting

What a great night! The staff and board of the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum were honored by the City Council of Crawfordsville, Indiana for winning the National Medal for Museum Service this year. The Council drafted a special resolution acknowledging our hard work, and the Council and audience gave us a standing ovation!

It feels great to be appreciated, but it feels even better to be part of a staff that works so seamlessly together to achieve such long-ranging and exciting results for our community.


--Kara Edie, Visitor Services & Marketing Coordinator

Museum Director Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, Museum Board President Dale Petrie, Council Member Dennis Cook, Museum Associate Director Amanda Wesselmann, Museum Marketing Coordinator Kara Edie, Council Member George Parker, Museum Grounds Manager Deb King, Council Member Roger Rockenbaugh, Council Member Heather Perkins, Council Member Patrick Taylor, Council Member Nellie Thompson, Crawfordsville Mayor Charles Coons, and Council Member Raymond Kirtley.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Bright Shining Moment


It's great that Cinnamon got to go to Washington D.C. to receive the National Medal for Museum Services, but what's going on around here? Well, the Crawfordsville City Council drafted a resolution to pass at Monday's meeting to recognize the magnitude of this achievement, and specifically thank the staff, board, and membership for their hard work in bringing this honor to the city of Crawfordsville. All the Museum staff will be there, along wtih Lew Wallace Study Preservation Society President Dale Petrie, toting the medal for all to see. We hope to see quite a crowd to share in the glory of the medal - this is not your average city council meeting!
--Amanda Wesselmann, Associate Director

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sharing


Saturday morning found Crawfordsville High School students helping to divide iris and hostas at the Study. Helen Hudson's honor students have adopted the local Amtrak station and needed some plants to fill some spots in the gardens at the train station. Hostas, albomarginata and 'Fragrant Blue', and a deep purple iris are plentiful in the Study's gardens.

The hostas are 4-5 years old and need to be divided to maintain the health of the plant. Iris, separated every 2 years, develope large rhizomes and welcome separating. After digging at the Study, the students returned to the station where they planted and watered the perennials, while waiting to welcome the train's passengers.
--Deb King, Grounds Manager

Sunday, October 19, 2008

An Autumn Tradition: the 5th Annual Artists in Residence Program











Art was in the air again as the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum hosted its fifth-annual Artists in Residence Program on Sunday, October 5 on the Museum grounds. Eight artists and art educators gathered underneath the goregous fall foliage to showcase their artistic talents for Museum visitors. Here are some looks back!



--Kara Edie, Visitor Services & Marketing Coordinator

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wabash Day 2008

Today students from Wabash College participated in community service at the Lew Wallace Study as part of Wabash Day 2008. Wabash Day 2008 (October 11-12) is a national day of community service that "is tied to the core values of the college requiring men to to be responsible citizens and to be effective, thoughtful leaders to make our communities more humane." (http://www.wabash.edu/wabashday for more information). We thank the volunteers from the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity (FIJI House) who spent their Saturday morning moving picnic tables, taking down the electrical boxes from the Taste of Montgomery County, and picking up trash and debris around the exterior of the Study. As a token of gratitude, the volunteers also received a brief tour of the Study and were very inquisitive, showing great interest in Mr. Wallace's artwork as well as his time abroad in the Ottoman Empire and in New Mexico Territory. Thank you again for making the Study a part of Wabash Day 2008 and we hope you can return for a visit (as a student, you receive a discount if you show your college ID) or to volunteer your time again outside of this wonderful community service opportunity.

--Will Finney, Museum Intern from Wabash College

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Senator Evan Bayh Comments on GLWSM's National Medal Honor


“The General Lew Wallace Study and Museum in Crawfordsville is a shining example of how well-preserved history can enrich our communities today,” said Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN). “The innovative programs of the Lew Wallace Youth Academy provide a great service to the children of Indiana, creating a unique learning opportunity for middle school students. The museum is truly a community organization, hosting successful events for all of Montgomery County and taking an active role in the revitalization of downtown Crawfordsville. The General Lew Wallace Study and Museum is a point of pride in Indiana, and I congratulate the museum for this well-deserved honor.”

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

General Lew Wallace Study and Museum wins National Medal for Museum and Library Service



GENERAL LEW WALLACE STUDY AND MUSEUM TO RECEIVE NATIONAL MEDAL FOR MUSEUM AND LIBRARY SERVICE AT WHITE HOUSE CEREMONY

GLWSM one of five museums honored nationwide; second museum in Indiana history

CRAWFORDSVILLE, IN, September 30, 2008— First Lady Laura Bush will award the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum the 2008 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation's highest honor for museums and libraries, at a White House ceremony on October 7.

Each year, the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), in coordination with the White House, presents the National Medal to five museums and five libraries that have helped make their communities better places to live. Each winning institution also receives a $10,000 award.

The National Medal is the nation's highest honor for museums and libraries that help make their communities better places to live. The General Lew Wallace Study and Museum is one of only five museums in the United States and its territories to receive the medal this year and only the second museum in Indiana to receive this award since its inception.

IMLS awards the National Medal to 10 institutions annually for outstanding community outreach programs. The General Lew Wallace Study and Museum received the award for its Lew Wallace Youth Academy, which incorporates Wallace's life story into lessons in problem solving, creating art, and serving others; its Taste of Montgomery County event that created an economic engine for small businesses in the Montgomery County area and brought new people to the museum's campus to celebrate local food and music; and its participation in the public forum "Build a Better Downtown." Additionally, the Museum has ensured the lasting legacy of General Wallace with the recent rehabilitation of his carriage house as an Interpretive Center complete with a state-of-the-art collections storage facility. Through exceptional educational programming, collaborations with local and state organizations, active collections care, and community development opportunities, the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum fulfills its mission to "celebrate and renew belief in the power of the individual spirit to affect American history and culture."

"We are deeply moved by this award. The museum staff and board have worked diligently to connect with our community and we believe we've made positive transformations in our members, program participants, and visitors. To have this work commemorated with the National Medal is an incredible honor," said Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, Director of the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum.

"By its example, the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum shows us the kind of influence and impact that museums can have on community life. Through its innovative programs and active partnerships, the Museum addresses the urgent and changing needs of the community it serves," said Anne-Imelda M. Radice, IMLS Director.

The other winners of the 2008 National Medal for Museum and Library Service are:
1. The Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, WY
2. The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA
3. The Jane Stern Dorado Community Library, Inc., Dorado, PR
4. The Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, MO
5. The Lower East Side Tenement Museum, New York, NY
6. The Miami-Dade Public Library System, Miami, FL
7. The Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL
8. The Skidompha Library, Damariscotta, ME
9. The Skokie Public Library, Skokie, IL

The National Medal awards are made every year by IMLS, the primary source of federal funding for museums and libraries. Each organization will also be honored in an upcoming ceremony in Washington, D.C., and will receive a $10,000 award. This is the second year that IMLS has awarded medals to 10 institutions. In previous years, the National Medal was known as the National Award for Museum and Library Service and was awarded to three museums and three libraries. Additional information about the 2008 National Medal winners may be found at http://www.imls.gov/news/2008/092908.shtm.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit www.imls.gov.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Taste was a Big Helping of Fun

How awesome was the Taste of Montgomery County? Words cannot describe, but I'll do my best anyway! There was so much to take in that day, I'll just hit a few highlights. Of the twenty booths, I was only able to taste a few things, but one of my favorites was the couscous with lamb from The Juniper Spoon. When it came to dessert, it was hard to decide, but I think I agree wtih the judges that the winner for best taste was the turtle cheesecake from Awesome Edibles caterers. Mmmm!

The music was great, too, and all the bands put on a good show. One I enjoyed the most was the Tad Robinson Band. I didn't know I liked blues music until I heard them! It was definitely a crowd-pleasing event, and I also had a great time running into lots of folks I hadn't seen in awhile. I heard there were over 2,000 people there, and I believe it. The only downside was that some of the vendors ran out of food that I had been hoping to try, like the fried cheesecake I saw on the menu card. Oh well, hopefully that will be back next year. I know I will.

Lew is Launching into School!


Even though Lew Wallace hated school as a child, he's getting ready to launch back into the classroom - but this time as the teacher. The Lew Wallace Discovery Kit has been finished by intern Rachael Matthews and is reserved for a visit at St. Bernard's School in just over a week. We're wrapping up the final inventory and packing the kit...making sure all the parts are in place for the students. This Discovery Kit is the second in the series, but like the first Wallace Women Discovery Kit, this one has touchable artifacts from our Education Collection, games, and a binder full of activities and lessons for the teacher to incorporate into curriculum. This kit is fit for a variety of ages, and the maiden voyage is to become a station in a kindergarten class. There's so much great stuff in here, I couldn't resist trying some of it on!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Summer Fun


Summer at the Study has been a wonderous treat for the nature lovers.

The gardens are in full glory and the wildlife has found a bountiful feast.

Lantana, verbena, butterfly bushes and coneflowers are visited by goldfinches, hummingbirds and numerous varieties of butterflies.

The yellow swallowtail butterfly is the most prevelant variety. Flitting from flower to flower, they dance a graceful ballet for the watchful visitor.

Goldfinches fly from garden to garden, eating the coneflower seeds. The soft, high pitched song they sing is a musical treat for any and all who visit.

Hummingbird have found the garden this year. Butterfly bushes, geraniums and the morning glories have all been visited by the 'hummers.' They make a slight squeaking sound as they drink the nectar of the flowers.

Fall is fast approaching and the mums are starting to bloom. Soon the 'hummers' will be headed south and the seed of the coneflowes will be all eaten.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Gearing up for the Taste at Wabash Community Day


Marketing Coordinator Kara Edie and I went to the Wabash College Community Day to spread some of our excitement about the upcoming Taste of Montgomery County! With the countdown well underway - only 4 days left - our goal was to make sure every Wabash student knew what was going on Saturday, September 6. Not only did we pass out every last Taste button that we had, but we also got a few responses like, "oh yeah, I went last year and it was awesome!" and "we already have our tickets!" I thought it was a great show of community.


Hope to see you there!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Summer Intern Shares Experiences

I came to the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum in the hopes of learning more about the business side of nonprofits and how I could go about making a career of marketing in the nonprofit sector. Amanda Wesselmann, the Associate Director, took my desire into account by helping me develop a summer project that would both help me learn more about marketing and help the Museum achieve its publicity goals. Essentially, I had three major jobs: educate the public by giving tours of the Museum, assist Kara Edie, the Marketing Coordinator, in publicizing events, and assist Amanda in the execution of those events.

I completed this project by creating numerous press releases, brochures, and flyers for the Museum to help draw attention to events like the Taste of Montgomery County. I also helped in the execution of events like Discovery Saturday, the Civil War Encampment, and the Lew Wallace Youth Academy. Helping to publicize and execute these events was an eye-opening experience for me for several reasons. First, they showed me the large amount of creativity that nonprofits must use to get public support for their events. Due to budget restraints, Kara and I were constantly brain-storming about effective, cheap ways to get more people to attend our events. Second, I was able to learn the real “meat and potatoes” of marketing. I learned about contact lists, press release layouts, and graphic design layouts through the great “on the job training” that the Museum provided. Finally, I have become very adept at “reading people” and figuring out what they want from an experience. While giving tours, I quickly realized that no two groups are exactly alike. That is, while one person may expect me to tell a story about each object in the collection the next person may prefer to simply sit and take it all in. I feel like acting as a tour guide for the Museum has taught me to read people’s reactions to my words effectively and tailor my behavior accordingly. I am sure that all three of these lessons will serve me well as I continue in my marketing career.

Alex Thompson, Wabash College '08, Public Programs Intern Summer 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Discovery Saturday features games, experiments

CRAWFORDSVILLE, IN, July 19, 2008— Deb King, Grounds Manager of the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum, is eager to fish from General Wallace’s moat, an activity that Wallace himself greatly enjoyed from 1898-1903.

“General Wallace had a ‘moat’ dug around half of his Study during its construction, and he stocked it with fish,” King said. “He taught his grandsons how to fish from the moat, and it’ll be interesting to watch kids fish from it once again.”

This time, however, children who will have the opportunity to fish from the General’s moat will do so without water, as the fish are made of cardboard and will attach to the kids’ cane poles with magnets. This is one of the many activities planned for Discovery Saturday, a special event held in conjunction with the Lew Wallace—Gentleman Scientist exhibit on Saturday, August 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Other fun things being planned for Discovery Saturday include making “nature impressions” on sun-sensitive paper, exploring the grounds with the Museum’s new Nature Study Backpacks, going on an innovation scavenger hunt, and taking a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum, including the Study’s basement, a place that is usually closed off to visitors.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to create a rudimentary fish ladder, similar to the one Wallace erected at Water Babble, his summer home on the outskirts of Crawfordsville. “What’s a fish ladder?” King teased. “You’ll have to come and see.”

All ages are welcome to this special event and admission is free. For further information, contact the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum at 765-362-5769 or email info@ben-hur.com.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Re-enactors to bring Civil War to life at General Lew Wallace Study

Presentations represent daily life of Union soldiers under Wallace’s command


CRAWFORDSVILLE, IN, June 21, 2008— The scent of campfires and the sounds of Stephen Foster songs will fill the air once again at the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum for its annual Civil War encampment weekend, July 12 and 13. This year, however, visitors will get a rare chance to dig deeper into the experience of life as one of General Wallace’s rank-and-file soldiers.

The Museum has partnered with Mid States Living History Association, Inc. out of Indianapolis to present several activities on the Museum grounds over the course of the weekend that give a greater insight into life as a soldier during this tumultuous time in American history. In addition to live demonstrations of camp cooking, construction, medical care, music, telegraphy and artillery training, visitors may get the chance to interact with General Wallace himself, listening in as he reflects on the controversial battle of Shiloh and his innovative defense of Cincinnati.

“This year, we’re offering visitors an even more immersive experience,” said Associate Director Amanda Wesselmann. “I think our guests will enjoy the diversity of activities, and hopefully, come to appreciate what General Wallace and his soldiers had to endure during the Civil War.”

The live activities include “School of the Piece,” an instructional training exercise for cannoneers that demonstrates the degree of textbook and practical training required to function on the field of battle. Visitors will also be invited to participate in infantry training drills using toy “Woodfield” (wooden) rifles. Demonstrations in Civil War-era medical care, camp construction and cooking, and using a working telegraph will also be held throughout the weekend.
Visitors are invited to experience the live drama of the Civil War on Saturday, July 12 from 2:00 – 9:00 p.m. and Sunday, July 13 from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum in Crawfordsville. For further information, contact the Museum at 765-362-5769 or email info@ben-hur.com.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

New Field Trips Prompts a Series of Programs


For the first time, almost every second, third, and fourth grade student in Crawfordsville visited the Museum this year, along with students from throughout the county and region. To accommodate this influx of students - who we hope will return next year - we introduced a series of topical tours catered to the learning standards of each grade. The second graders learned about Lew Wallace as an author, and returned to write stories on the grounds like Wallace did with his world-renowned book Ben-Hur. The third graders focused on local history and what Wallace did while he lived in Crawfordsville, as well as what makes the Study a unique building unlike any they'll see elsewhere. The fourth graders looked at what made Wallace important to the state of Indiana: his fame as an author, diplomat, and soldier. All these students got to look at the Study and Museum, but with a different focus for each group, there will be something new to see the next time they come.



Reasons to Visit and Volunteer at the Study

Hello, I am a volunteer here at the Lew Wallace Study. Approximately one year ago I sought out opportunities to help my community and for those opportunities to be interesting, challenging, and not boring. As a volunteer I work on the newsletter, give tours, and research information upon request from the public regarding Lew's fascinating life. I enjoy these opportunities as it is a vast change from my daily job and additionally I am providing a public service to promote a national treasure.

When I was a small child, my grandmother took me to the study. Many years later I returned to tour the study as a college student. As a child, I was fascinated by the exhibits from the film version of Ben Hur (1959), as the suit of the Roman Legionnaire caught my eye. However, after studying literature and studying history in college, I returned and fell in love with the artifact collection on Lew's life as an author, general, ambassador, and sportsman. It was the memories of both tours plus reading the novel Ben Hur that inspired me to volunteer at this study. Now I take the opportunity to inspire others to study Lew Wallace and appreciate him for his incredible life and the study itself.

When you visit the study, each tour begins with a brief video presentation of Lew's biography. In the film, Lew Wallace is described as a hero for modern times. It makes sense - a best-selling author who followed his true calling in the literary arts after practicing law; a general who volunteered for the Union army leaving his family (wife Susan, son Henry) for the front lines of the Civil War like many men in that era; a foreign ambassador in the infancy of American international diplomacy; a territorial governor sent to clean up New Mexico during the period of William Bonney a/k/a Billy The Kid; and a "gentleman scientist" whose innovations range from a telescoping fishing pole to making a railroad safe for passengers in the late 19th century. He embodies more the Renaissance man of the late middle ages than the Victorian Era in which he lived and thrived. This is a fascinating man who can teach all of us the themes of perseverance and hard work.

Since starting my volunteer work here, I have learned much more about Lew than I ever imagined. I'm now inspired to read his two-volume biography published posthumously and The Fair God, Lew's first novel about the conquest of the Aztec empire by Cortez from the Aztec perspective. He produced a pronunciation guide for the Aztec characters, which some critics disliked at that time. I'm also interested in reading The Land of the Pueblos, a collection of articles produced by Susan, Lew's wife, during their time in New Mexico.

There is an aspect for every visitor at the study. If you enjoy literature, you will enjoy browsing at Lew's collection of books and the monument for the Ben Hur beech tree (90% of the novel was written under the tree). If you enjoy science, you will enjoy our current exhibit complete with a recreation of a Victorian workbench. If you enjoy the Civil War, you will enjoy the study's exhibits on Lew's involvement with the Union army, the Lincoln Assassination, and the Andersonville trial. If you enjoy the outdoors, you will enjoy our groundskeeper's wonderful use of period-era foliage and the exhibit on Lew's love of fishing. If you like architecture, the study itself is a gold mine on the styles and features.

In summation, I enjoy my volunteer work at the Lew Wallace Study and continue to volunteer, receiving the inspiration I need from simply setting foot inside the study and discussing one of America's most interesting figures of the nineteenth century. Visit at least once, then many other times subsequently, to see with your own eyes what I have described in this introductory blog.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Spring Blooms

The grounds of the Study are filled with blooming wildflowers. Wild hyacinth, allium, iris, wood violets, prairie trillium are just some of the wonderful plants found on the Study grounds.

Gardens are in the process of being planted. Cannas, elephant ears, caladiums, castor beans, lantana are some of the plants that will be on display throughout the summer. The children's garden is featured this year, with local children doing the planting. Lamb's ear (please touch) and cherry tomatoes are some of the fun plants in this garden. Cool season pansies and alyssum were planted during the Lew Wallace Birthday Celebration. Marigolds are to be planted soon and the garden will be filled with lots of bright colorful flowers.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

New Items Make Gifting a Breeze!










Things are blooming outside, and new things are also popping up in our gift shop! We have several new book titles for readers of all ages, including our 2008 Brown Bag Book Club selections Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson and The Wizard of Menlo Park by Randall Stross. Younger readers can check out You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Civil War Soldier!, which spells out what life was like in the Union army, from the wool uniforms to the tasteless hardtack!

Lew Wallace became very acquainted with the art of using a quill pen on parchment paper, and now you can too! Our “Create Your Own Parchment Document” kits include ink, glass ink bottle with cork stopper, feather quill pen and piece of parchment to make your own historical-looking documents. Want to make your words really stick? Our new Lew Wallace magnetic poetry kits mix the fun of creating your own verse with some terrific Wallace-themed words to make an activity that entertains and educates!

In addition, we have a terrific collection of items for the Civil War buff, literary enthusiast and nature lover in your family. Remember the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum gift shop when you shop, and keep General Wallace’s legacy alive with every gift you send! Contact us through our website, by emailing info@ben-hur.com, or by giving us a call at 765-362-5769 and let us help with all your gift-giving needs.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

International Museum Day--May 18, 2008

The General Lew Wallace Study and Museum in Crawfordsville is celebrating International Museum Day on Sunday, May 18, 2008 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. International Museum Day has been celebrated throughout the world since 1977. In celebration of the impact that museums have on the cultural enrichment of the community, the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum will be offering free tours of its facilities, light refreshments, and a free gift to all visitors. The General Lew Wallace Study and Museum is located at 200 Wallace Avenue in Crawfordsville. For more information on this and other events at the Museum, contact 765-362-5769 or visit our website at www.ben-hur.com.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spring



Spring at the Study has finally arrived! A cold and wet March has given way to warmer temperatures and sunshine with bouts of rain. The Study grounds are covered in scilla, spring beauty and cut-leaved toothwort. Dogtooth violets are starting to bloom along with lily of the valley. The numerous trees on the grounds are starting to leaf and the redbud trees are in full glory. The magnolias, daffodils and tulips have finished blooming and the gardens are waiting for the planting of annuals. Frost-free date is around the 10th of May and the gardens will be planted by the 1st of June. Plants that were listed in catalog of the 1800's are planted to maintain the historic aspects of the Study. Ageratum, marigolds, lantana, elephant ears, cannas are just some of the plants that are planned for the gardens.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

New Strategic Directions for the Museum

This year the Museum will complete its first five-year strategic plan and indicators suggest that we will complete the plan 100%! This is a major accomplishment for the staff and board and we are truly grateful to the Crawfordsville community, our members, and visitors for helping us position the Museum as an organization that contributes to our county's quality of life and provides daily enrichment to our visitors and program participants.

In a few months the Museum board will begin meeting to develop the next five-year strategic plan. In preparation for this, we have developed five core compentencies that we believe the Museum does really well. These competencies will inform our strategic goals so we need to make sure we got this right. I would love to hear what you think about these core competencies. Do you agree? Is there something else we do as well or better? Is this bunk? I want to hear it! It's only through conversations and partnerships with our constituents that we will do our best work and make difference in the community and beyond. Here they are:

General Lew Wallace Study and Museum
Core Competencies

1. We know General Lew Wallace and we make him relevant.

2. We are really good at articulating our message.

3. We possess expertise in the small museum field.

4. We are creative and innovative, and we execute the project.

5. We are obsessed with the visitor experience.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to reading your comments!
Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Learning with Lew adds up

The Museum is certainly set to break attendance records this year with scheduled group visits. So far this year we've had 260 people in grades 2-12 come through the Museum! The next six weeks are full of school tours, with 380 more people on the calendar from schools throughout the region. These include high school English classes, home school groups, and fourth-graders studying Indiana state history. We're also set to serve almost 200 adults through bus tours and club meetings. No matter the age, there's always something to learn with Lew!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Park Day at the Study






Yes, believe it or not, Spring has decided to finally make an appearance in Indiana, and the folks at the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum were just in time to welcome this long-lost season with some much-needed cleanup of the Museum grounds.






Park Day, a national initiative of the Civil War Preservation Trust, aims to help Civil War heritage sites (like ours) by organizing an annual cleanup day to restore, maintain and bring new life to our winter-sleepy land. This year's effort was our best yet, bringing over thirty volunteers together to paint, weed, rake, mulch, and remove branches from the grounds.






In addition to the crowds of volunteers, scads of visitors were also attracted to the Museum in this first burst of warm Spring weather. We've had over twenty visitors inside the Study and Carriage House today, and if this is any indication of our visitation this year, we'll be breaking another attendance record!






Stay tuned as we roll into the crazy (never lazy) days of summer here at the Study!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Gentleman Scientist exhibit opens to wide acclaim

After months of planning and weeks of careful installation, Lew Wallace—Gentleman Scientist, the new interactive exhibit at the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum, has finally opened to wide public acclaim.

The sneak preview party, open to members of the Lew Wallace Study Preservation Society, was held on Friday, March 28, at the Museum and at the former Wallace home in Crawfordsville. Members enjoyed a wine and cheese reception while learning about the new exhibit from Museum Director Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko. “We are so grateful to our Science Advisory Committee for helping us conceptualize this exhibit,” said Catlin-Legutko in her remarks. “The staff and I have been engaged with this exhibit since last year, and it’s very gratifying to see it come to fruition.”

After the reception, members moved to the Carriage House Interpretive Center, which had been transformed into a creative workshop dedicated to Wallace’s achievements in the realms of invention, innovation and the natural world. Large-scale vinyl images of Wallace’s patent drawings have been reproduced and now hang on the walls, next to some of his inspiring quotations. Artifacts from Wallace’s avocation as an inventor sit side by side with his fishing equipment and original materials he used in the construction of his unique Study building. A special Creativity Station invites both children and their families to design and build their own structures out of Lego® blocks, or to draw their own inventions and have them specially “patented” by staff with a specialized Museum seal embosser.

Another exciting addition to the new exhibit is the collection of backpacks filled with binoculars, field guides and drawing supplies that visitors can check out and utilize on the Museum’s shady grounds to become a true nature observer. Instructions are included on methods of bird watching, identifying trees, and more.

The public opening of the “Gentleman Scientist” exhibit took place on Saturday, March 29, and a brisk day full of bright sunshine greeted visitors from throughout the region as they came to the Museum. “Visitation is up markedly since the beginning of March,” said Museum Associate Director Amanda Wesselmann. “We had quite a crowd today, coming to see both the new exhibit and the Study. We hope this momentum carries throughout the exhibit year.”
The upcoming year features events and educational programming that complement the “Gentleman Scientist” theme, including community favorites the Lew Wallace Youth Academy and the second-annual Taste of Montgomery County. The next events in the 2008 exhibit year are Park Day on April 5, an annual comprehensive cleanup of the Museum grounds in preparation for the coming year, and Lew Wallace’s Birthday Celebration on April 10, a party for children and their families celebrating Wallace’s 181st birthday with games, gifts, refreshments, and the planting of the new Lew Wallace Children’s Garden.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lew Wallace--Gentleman Scientist exhibit opens 3/29


Lew Wallace's fascinating and little-known avocation as inventor, innovator and naturalist will be the focus of this year's exhibit theme, Lew Wallace-Gentleman Scientist, opening Saturday in the Carriage House Interpretive Center of the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum.

The museum staff has been busy selecting related artifacts, composing the narrative that will serve as label copy, fabricating vinyl panel reproductions of some of Wallace's patent drawings, and constructing hands-on activities that will appeal to children and adults alike."Just like last year's Wallace Women exhibit, we are designing the Gentleman Scientist exhibit in a way that visitors will be able to relate to Lew Wallace's lessons of innovation and conservation and apply them to their own experiences," said Museum Director Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko. "People will see Wallace's solutions to some of the problems of his day, and they'll be encouraged to test out their own."
Some of the interactive elements of this year's exhibit include a patent drawing station where children can design their own inventions and have them specially "patented" and displayed inside the Carriage House. "We have a special embosser that we'll use to certify visitors' drawings as 'official' Museum patents," said Catlin-Legutko.

For even younger visitors, the Gentleman Scientist exhibit will introduce a colorful component. Using Lego® blocks, children (and their parents) will be encouraged to copy Wallace's design of his unique Study building or to create a Study of their own. "Lew Wallace's Study reflects a design that is uniquely his, something that fulfilled all of his needs," Catlin-Legutko said. "We're excited to see what visitors can dream up for themselves."

Accompanying the Gentleman Scientist exhibit will be a full year of educational programming and community events that revolve around the theme. New this year are an architectural discovery walking tour and "Discovery Saturday," an assortment of hands-on education stations located throughout the Museum and grounds that illustrate lessons of innovation and the natural world.

In addition, the Museum's successful annual programs such as the Lew Wallace Youth Academy, the Artists in Residence Program and the Brown Bag Book Club will showcase themes that tie in to the exhibit.For members of the Lew Wallace Study Preservation Society, the Museum will host a special Sneak Preview Party on Friday at 5 p.m. Members will be able to take a first look at the Gentleman Scientist exhibit amid refreshments and camaraderie with the Staff and Trustees.Invitations to members were mailed last week. The public opening of the exhibit takes place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.





Sunday, March 9, 2008

General Lew Wallace Study & Museum Nominated for National Medal

GENERAL LEW WALLACE STUDY & MUSEUM NOMINATED FOR NATIONAL MEDAL

Museum nominated for outstanding collaboration with and service to the Crawfordsville community

CRAWFORDSVILLE, IN, March 3, 2008— The General Lew Wallace Study and Museum in Crawfordsville has been nominated for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for libraries and museums that help to make their communities better places to live.

The Museum’s nomination was submitted by Heritage Preservation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving America’s collections (www.heritagepreservation.org). The Museum has worked with Heritage Preservation in their Conservation Assessment Program (CAP), and Museum Director Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko was selected to participate in the Connecting to Collections Summit, co-hosted by Heritage Preservation in 2007. She also serves on the CAP Advisory Committee representing America’s small museums.

“It is a thrill and honor to be nominated by Heritage Preservation, an organization I look to for museum resources and advice,” said Catlin-Legutko. “The Museum has been striving for excellence over the past five years and it’s wonderful to be recognized for our efforts. And, this is an incredible honor for Crawfordsville and Montgomery County.”

The National Medal for Museum and Library Service honors outstanding institutions that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. Selected institutions demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach and core programs generally associated with its services.

With the site’s rich history and the inherent lessons applicable for today, a primary goal of the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum has been to improve community engagement through preservation efforts, exhibits, and educational programming. Beginning in 2003, the organization started taking steps toward realizing this goal by thinking outwardly about its purpose and meaning. The results of these introspective steps have materialized in a variety of new programs and outreach initiatives that have captured the attention of the entire Montgomery County community, and beyond.

With such programs as the Lew Wallace Youth Academy, Artists in Residence and the “Learning with Lew” educational programming series, the Museum has evolved from a storehouse of Wallace’s belongings to a true, interactive community partner whose efforts are being recognized nationwide.

National Medals are awarded annually by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (www.imls.gov), the primary source of federal funding for museums and libraries, in conjunction with the White House. Previous award winners include Chicago’s John G. Shedd Aquarium and Brookfield Zoo, the Miami Museum of Science and the Frankfort Community Public Library. 2008 award recipients will be announced in November.