Saturday, May 28, 2011


2010 Youth Academy students learn what it was like to
undergo surgery on the Civil War battlefield.

Crawfordsville, Indiana, May 25, 2011—Amanda Wesselmann, Associate Director of the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum and Coordinator of the Lew Wallace Youth Academy, announced today that enrollment into the weeklong day camp, held this year from July 5-9, is now open to the public.  In 2008, the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum won the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the highest honor this country gives to museums, largely because of the impact the Academy made on the Montgomery County community.

The Academy, which is in its seventh year after six tremendously successful seasons, has already enrolled exceptional middle school-aged students from schools and home school organizations from throughout Montgomery County, and only a few positions remain.  The Academy promotes in its students the qualities of leadership, character and lifelong learning that General Lew Wallace embodied throughout his life.  This year, Academy students will investigate new disciplines related to the Wallace legacy: in the day dedicated to “The Food That Lew Knew”, participants will meet a local sheep farmer and her livestock, and discuss the processing of food from farm to table, complete with sampling the types of cuisine Lew Wallace tasted. They will also prepare wool for felting and spinning, and create their own project to take home.

“We chose our wide variety of subjects not to have one specialty for everyone, but to illustrate that each student can excel in many things,” said Wesselmann.  “Our diverse faculty has designed hands-on group activities that will build on students’ interests, and pique new ones.”

2010 Youth Academy students excel in African drumming.
Applicants for the Academy must be entering 6th through 8th grade or equivalent and able to attend the entire camp from July 5-9, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Parents are responsible for arranging transportation to and from the Academy.  The cost to the family is only $25 per child.  Scholarship opportunities are available for families experiencing financial hardship; contact the Museum to make arrangements.

This program is made possible through our generous sponsors, including Tipmont REMC, Union Township Board of Trustees, Sugar Creek Kiwanis, Character Counts, American Legion Byron Cox Post 72, Clements Plumbing, INFBPW/Crawfordsville, Montgomery County Retired Teachers Association, Psi Iota Xi - Gamma Xi Chapter, Teachers Credit Union, Brian Keim, and Roberta Berry.

For registration forms, contact Amanda Wesselmann at 765-362-5769 or, or stop by the Carriage House Interpretive Center at the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum, 200 Wallace Ave., Crawfordsville.  Registration forms and $25 fee are due by June 30.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Overheard at International Museum Day 4

This is from a Crawfordsville native:

"The Study was very much a part of my youth as my family lived just a few blocks away on Wabash Avenue, I went to school at Wilson from kindergarten through the middle of fourth grade, my Scout Troop met in the Carriage House during some of my early years, and when I was still living in Crawfordsville and preparing to walk in the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon in 2004 and 2005 walking around the blocks near the Study was a regular part of my early-morning training route. So I have fond memories of time spent in the Study and on the grounds during my youth and part of my adult life."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Overheard at International Museum Day 3

From a previous volunteer:

"I remember that spot up there looked a little shaky back then. There was damage from the leaks, and the plaster around the skylight would flake off."

Thankfully, the Study Restoration Project seems to have fixed that issue!

Overheard at International Museum Day 2

Overheard from a young visitor:

"I remember the bright orange carpet. And that there used to be a lot more stuff in here."

Hang on, Josie. Just a few more weeks and then we plan to move artifacts back into the Study! (The carpet's gone for good, though.)

Overheard at International Museum Day

Today the Museum is participating in International Museum Day with free admission. The theme is Museums and REmembrance, and our visitors are talking up a storm about what they remember from their previous visits! This was overheard from a former teacher during a tour:

"Didn't there used to be a picture of a lady whose eyes followed you? I remember that. All the kids remembered that from their field trips." [The Turkish Princess by C.F. Mueller, hanging in the center of the photo]

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The bloom report

The grounds of the Museum are bursting with plant life and color. Wildflower walks provided visitors with the rust-colored blooms of prairie trillium, pale blue blooms of wild hyacinth, along with bright yellow ragwort. The magnolia trees bloomed for just a short period of time, not liking the 30 degree rise in temperatures. The cool spring exploded with 4 days of mid 80's and the magnolia blossoms suffered. The abundant spring rain also provided a surprise to the wildflower walks. Morel mushrooms, or sponge mushrooms were found growing in a nest of hickory, beech and sassafras leaves. The largest measured just under 6"! It is only the second time in recorded history that morels have been found on the Museum grounds.

The iris are in bloom, colors ranging from a deep midnight purple to a light lavendar/yellow throat. Purple alliums are intermixed with the iris in the Study front garden. Deutzia, with its globe-like white blooms compliment the pale lavendar iris and pink peonies. Nestled in a garden with a birdbath, visitors sit on a garden bench and watch the antics of the house wrens, cardinals and blue jays.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Making It Up as He Goes Along

Lew Wallace created many things during his lifetime, from art to inventions to his Study. Many consider writing to be his greatest achievement, especially since he described in his autobiography that he hated school and frequently skipped class. Well, perhaps he should have applied himself to a few more vocabulary lessons...

When the first few chapters of Ben-Hur were published as a separate volume titled The First Christmas, Wallace wrote the preface describing his writing process. A lack of knowledge of the historical circumstances surrounding the birth of Christ compelled Wallace "to study everything of pertinency; after which, possibly, I would be possessed of opinions of real value." Unfortunately for the world-renowned author, "pertinency" isn't actually a word; he should have used "pertinence".

We could overlook that near-miss, but Wallace just plain made up a word elsewhwere in the preface. He described walking to his brother's house from a train station: "The street-cars were at my service, but I preferred to walk, for I was in a confusion of mind not unlike dazement." Dazement? Apparently he was so confused that he couldn't come up with a word that already existed!

I guess famous authors not only get to build their own studies, they also get to invent words.