Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reception for New Director Larry Paarlberg

The Staff and Trustees of the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum welcomed new Museum Director Larry Paarlberg with a reception in his honor on Thursday, October 22, 2009. Members of the Lew Wallace Study Preservation Society gathered at the Carriage House Interpretive Center to meet Paarlberg, mingle, and of course enjoy fabulous hors d'oeuvres on a misty autumn evening.

"I've never felt more warmly welcomed," said Paarlberg of the evening's festivities. "I'm so impressed that so many people turned out in less-than-stellar weather. And the trustees should rent themselves out to New York caterers, the food was so good."

Paarberg started at the Museum on October 1 and has already had experience with visitors from the community, school tours, and grant presentations in his short tenure. Among his current duties is overseeing the Study Restoration Project, beginning this fall.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Help for Crumbling Buildings

Monday we hosted an Historic Structures Workshop, organized by both the Indiana Historical Society's Local History Services and Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana. Geared for professionals and volunteers in history organizations located in historic buildings, staff and board members from as far away as Cincinnati convened to troubleshoot the various problems they face with their historic structures. Architect Judith Kleine, also a veteran faculty from the Lew Wallace Youth Academy, provided images and criteria to assess historic buildings for construction issues. John Reid, owner of Pioneer Restoration in Lafayette, spouted a wealth of information related to care and restoration of masonry, wood, and windows in older buildings. He has done a great deal of work throughout the region on courthouses, historic homes, and museums, and answered even the toughest questions with expertise. At different points, we took the group around the Study to show some of the masonry issues we're facing now with the Study Restoration Project, and then later to Lane Place to discuss wood and paint issues. We were very pleased to host the group and provide a venue for discussion and professional development. Many thanks to Stacy Klingler of Local History Services and Tommy Kleckner wtih Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana for letting us be a part of this event!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Slow Move Begins

The money is in and the process has started to find a contractor to replace the dome on Lew Wallace's 111 year old study. This means that we also have to start packing up all of the General's artifacts in the study to be put in storage while the dome is being repaired. Several volunteers worked hard to make an inventory of the more than 600 books on display and the musuem staff has been formulating a plan for how to pack everything and where everything should go.

Grounds keeper Deb King and collections manager Amanda McGuire started moving artifacts today in order to clean out the inglenook so the architect and potential contractors can get up to the dome to decide what needs to be done to repair it. The access to the dome is in the ceiling of the inglenook area and we don't want to take any chances of damaging artifacts by leaving them out while people are climbing up and down a ladder. Some items are still on display in the study but have moved to new locations. Other artifacts were brought over to the Carriage House for long term storage in the vault and some items were moved to Lew's cabinets for oversized books for temporary storage.

Part of the process of packing the artifacts is ensuring that each item has a unique three-part number to tie it to information in our collection database about what it is, where it is located and who donated it. Most of the artifacts have a number assigned to them but the number was never written on the artifact. A special process is used so that the number can be removed without causing any damage to the item.

Staff and volunteers will continue the process of packing up books and artifacts through the end of the year until construction begins. Some artifacts will be packed away and stored for a few years to allow them to "rest" so we can keep them for many years to come. These items will be brought out for special exhibits in the carriage house but will not be on permanent display in the study anymore, so be sure to make a trip out to see the General's "pleasure house for the soul" before the restoration work begins!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Last Piece of the Puzzle

The General Lew Wallace Study & Museum received a $51,000 grant from the Montgomery County Community Foundation for the Study Restoration Project! The Community Foundation has been a strong contributer to the Museum, and we are thrilled that they have continued to support us. Our request was especially dire this year with the Study roof needing replacement very soon. This grant is the last piece in the funding puzzle for the Study Restoration project, and now the wheels are really turning. We have started meeting with architects and lawyers, talking about bids and project scope, and fitting the work items into the funds we have. Work will begin in the next few months, so keep a lookout for progress updates!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

National Medal for Museum and Library Service Awarded to Indiana Museum, Second Year in a Row!

This was taken from a release from the Association of Indiana Museums (AIM). Please visit their website at for more information.

The National Medal for Museum and Library Service, awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, recognizes five museum and five libraries each year, for programs and services provided to the nation and to the communities they serve. An Indiana museum has received a medal for two of the three years that IMLS has made the awards.

In 2008, AIM was proud to announce the news of the award received by the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum (Crawfordsville). This year, the Indianapolis Museum of Art receives the honor.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA), formerly known as the Art Association of Indianapolis, was founded more than 125 years ago on the principal that art should be cultivated, studied, and available to all. Today, the IMA upholds these original tenets through programs like Viewfinders, an art viewing program that invites children to visit the museum with their teachers, think creatively, and share their ideas about the art with one another; and the Museum Apprentice Program, an initiative for high school students that supports mentorships with prominent artists on projects that develop leadership skills and expose them to the arts fields. Happily, visitors can appreciate the most comprehensive visual arts institution in Indiana for free, a recent and impactful change. Click here for complete IMLS release.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Artists in Residence 2009

Artists in Residence 2009, originally uploaded by WallaceStudy.

Artists in Residence 2009

Artists in Residence 2009, originally uploaded by WallaceStudy.

Artists in Residence 2009

Artists in Residence 2009, originally uploaded by WallaceStudy.

Artists in Residence 2009

Artists in Residence 2009, originally uploaded by WallaceStudy.

Mother Nature provided us with yet another beautiful autumn day for our sixth annual Artists in Residence Program on Sunday, October 4. Five artists and six art educators gathered on the grounds of the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum to demonstrate their artistic talents for Museum visitors. Over 200 people visited the Museum to see these talented individuals and to try their hands at making art themselves.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Seed collecting

Fall has arrived and the winterization of the gardens have begun. Peonies have been cut back and soon to be moved to a new location, leaves are being mulched and the squirrels are busy gathering and burying nuts.

One of the fall tasks is the collection of seeds from annuals. Celosia, nigella and black-eyed susan seeds are collected and sowed in the late spring the following year. This year the celosia (Flamingo Feather) has been a highlight of the Study front garden. Visitors ask questions when seeing these plants and are invited to touch the soft, feathery bloom. The spike-like blooms holds hundreds of seeds.

In collecting the seeds I cut the stem of the plant and place the flower spikes in a paper bag. I will let the blooms dry for a period of time and then shake the seeds from the spike. The seeds are stored in glass jars in a dry, dark area over the winter. In late May, I rake up a small spot in a sunny location and sow the seeds, water them well and wait to enjoy a great summer accent.