Elkhart County Historical Museum wins national award


The Elkhart County Historical Museum won a national award for its “Elkhart County Crossroads” exhibit, which chronicles the history of the county from the arrival of Aboriginal groups to the Industrial Revolution and to the present day.

The exhibit ran for three years and seeks to showcase the county’s Native American, African American, Latin and Anabaptist voices.

The exhibit won an Award of Excellence from the American Association for State and Local History, which aims to recognize what the association calls “the good story”.

According to the association, this means that the winners take action to strengthen diversity and inclusion, demonstrate the relevance of the story and try to be accessible to a wide audience, among others.

(You can read more about the price of the Historical Museum below.)

NASHVILLE, TN – June 2021 – The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) is proud to announce that the Elkhart County Historical Museum is the recipient of an Award of Excellence for the Crossroads of Elkhart exhibit County. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 76th year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievements in the preservation and interpretation of national and local history.

Crossroads of Elkhart County is a three-phase reinvention of the museum’s ground floor galleries that strives to help visitors learn about the history of the area, giving a voice to the people who have lived here and find their relevance today. The project spanned three years and owed its success to many partners, including Goshen College, the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, and the Community Foundation of Elkhart County, to name a few. The first gallery, “Forging at Path”, presents the Paleo people and continues through the archaic and forest periods. In a transformational turn for the museum, the exhibition presents, in their own words, the cultural foundations of this region of Miami and Potawatomi, ending just before the arrival of the French in 1670. “Claiming the Land” chronicles the experiences of the indigenous cultures, especially Miami and Potawatomi, when European and American groups settled in this area during the 1700s and 1800s. The final gallery, “Making a Place” begins with the arrival of the trains in 1851 and continues in the present. The gallery shines a light on the rise of the industry, weaves African-American, Latin and Anabaptist voices, and offers visitors a place to share their own stories.

This year, AASLH is proud to present thirty-eight national awards honoring individuals, projects, exhibitions and publications. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of national and local history.

The AASLH Awards Program was started in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of national and local history across the United States. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievements in the field of national and local history, but also provide public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions and programs to contribute in this field. For more information on the Leadership in History Awards, contact AASLH at 615-320-3203, or visit www.aaslh.org.

The Elkhart County Historical Museum is a partnership between the Elkhart County Parks Department and the Elkhart County Historical Society, which was founded in 1896. Since 1968, the museum has been housed in the School of Bristol in 1903. The museum’s mission is to tell the continuing story of County Elkhart by making lasting connections to history. Visitors to the museum can explore the many people, places and events that make up the history of Elkhart County. Unique and engaging programming is offered year round and field trips are available covering a range of subjects and grade levels. The extensive collection reflects the county’s cultural heritage and helps tell the story of Elkhart County in permanent and temporary exhibits. More information on: www.elkhartcountyparks.org/destinations/historical-museum/

The American Association for State and Local History is a professional, non-profit organization made up of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history. From its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH provides leadership, service, and support to its members who preserve and interpret state and local history to make the past more meaningful to all. The AASLH publishes books, technical publications, a quarterly magazine and maintains numerous communities and affinity committees serving a wide range of constituents of the historical community. The association also sponsors an annual meeting, regional and national in-person training workshops, and online training.

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Patrick F. Williams