Let’s go to the movies!

by Katherine Gould, Associate Curator of Cultural History

What is your most memorable movie-going experience? We all have them: the epic love story that made us cry as we gazed up at that big screen; the first special effects experience to blow our minds; or the first make-out session in the back of a darkened theater (confession: Top Gun, 1986, his name was Sean).

For me, it’s not any one particular movie that is most memorable, but rather my overall movie-going experience as a kid. I grew up on Army bases across the county and most would have a single-screen theater that showed second-run films. I remember the seats being filled not only with kids and parents in civilian clothes but also men and women in uniform. Before the start of each movie, the theater would darken and everybody would rise and remove their caps for the national anthem. The screen would be filled with rousing, patriotic images of tanks rolling across rugged terrain, Navy destroyers smashing through the high seas, and fighter planes soaring over the mountains. Even now, quite a few years later, the memory of those experiences is as clear as day.

I queried the staff of the Indiana State Museum to find out about some of their favorite movie-going experiences. Because sometimes the best part of history is not researching important artifacts or examining “old-timey” photographs, but rather simply recalling our own experiences with the past, and what it means to us. That’s what makes history fun. That’s what makes it personal. So, for some of you, your memory of going to a theater to see Top Gun may involve squealing at seeing Tom Cruise playing beach volleyball or gripping your seat while watching the action-packed fighter jet scenes. For me, the memory is something completely different. Continue reading

Lessons on Indiana

by Anne Fairchild, Eastern Region Program Manager for the State Historic Sites

Last Friday, I headed up from the Lanier Mansion in Madison to Ball State University campus in Muncie to meet with elementary education majors studying social studies curriculum with Dr. Ron Morris.

One of the key components of this class is to create curriculum for Indiana historical sites to use with teachers. The group pictured here include Sarah Neal, Senior Elementary Education major from Orlando, FL; Katelyn Fields, Junior Elementary Education major from Noblesville, IN; and Klara Howards, Senior Elementary Education major from Upland, IN. 

They developed two separate units for the Indiana State Historic Sites, including The Indiana Frontier and Pre-1865 transportation along the Whitewater Canal.

The essence of these lesson plans is to take students beyond surface messages (like the date Indiana was settled) and delve into deeper issues (like how a community worked together in 1825) and how some of these core issues are still with us today.

I really appreciate the work done by these students and others like them not only because these students are finding ways to use our sites to teach their curriculum for themselves, but for teachers and students throughout the state of Indiana.

Thanks Ball State, Dr. Morris and students Sarah, Katelyn and Klara!

Teachers who are interested in any of these curriculums should contact Anne Fairchild at afairchild@indianamuseum.org.

Pirates invade Whitewater Canal!

by Joanne Williams, Program Director and Cultural Administrator at Whitewater Canal State Historic Site

Pirates have invaded the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site and they are taking prisoners! A Spartan general was taken prisoner by the pirate captain, Captain Panther, on Saturday night, Oct. 16. Saturday was a strange and wonderful evening for the site; the Belgian draft horses that normally pull the canal boat the Ben Franklin III were replaced by unicorns and the staff was replaced by witches, pirates, Spartans, mad doctors and men with green faces!

These strange occurrences will happen again on Saturday, Oct. 23, when the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site hosts its annual Spooky Halloween Cruises at 7:30, 8 and 8:30 p.m. A professional storyteller will be on board telling Halloween tales and children will receive a candy treat at the end of the ride, provided by the Brookville IGA and Rosenbergers Market. Admission to the cruise is $4 per person. In addition, the merchants of Metamora are sponsoring a “Haunted Village” at $5 per person for a hayride around Metamora’s “haunted” sights from 7 to 10 p.m. The Whitewater Canal Byway Association is sponsoring a “Haunted Depot” at the Gateway Park on U.S. 52 for $12 per person from 7 to 11 p.m.  Metamora will soon need to change its name to Halloween Town!

Canal Boat Season Opens!

Take yourself back to a time when pleasures were simple … just step aboard a canal boat and take a trip back to the 19th century! On May 1, the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site will once again offer canal boat tours on the Ben Franklin III, through later this fall. 

This is the 20th year of canal boat rides on the Whitewater Canal aboard the Ben Franklin III. The Whitewater Canal originally began in Lawrenceburg and terminated in Cambridge City, on the Old National Road (U.S. 40). When the era of canal transportation ended due to the railroads, the Whitewater Canal became a source of water power for many mills.

 Today, the Whitewater Canal staff operates a horse-drawn canal boat, the Ben Franklin III, and the Metamora Mill. Visitors can travel a 25-minute cruise aboard the Ben Franklin III through the Duck Creek Aqueduct, the only covered bridge aqueduct in the nation!

Simple pleasures from a simpler time … don’t you sometimes wish our lives were this uncomplicated?

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

A Holiday Proposal

Written by Joanne Williams, program developer at Whitewater Canal State Historic Site

Ivan & Christa at Whitewater Canal

 The Ben Franklin III Canal Boat and Metamora Grist Mill, along with the town of Metamora, were decorated to the hilt for the annual Christmas Walk on Friday, Dec. 4. Deb Alvey, Whitewater Canal State Historic Site office manager and official photographer, was out taking pictures of the town and historic site for the marketing department when she came across a very romantic and life-changing event. Romance must have been in the air because visitor Ivan Cole took the opportunity to propose to Christa Turner on the bridge over the Whitewater Canal. The happy and excited couple asked Deb to capture this warm moment for them on her camera.

We aren’t sure how many times this has happened at the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site, but we are sure glad that Deb was there to help the young people remember this important event in their lives. Congratulations to Ivan and Christa and we hope they have many happy years together!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Whitewater Canal: A Rockwell Christmas?

www.indianamuseum.org/sites

Joe Konz's "Whitewater Canal at Night"

The Historic Sites take on a very different ambiance during the holidays. Decorations, lights and, of course, our friendly staffers … all combine to make it such a wonderful time of year! Apparently our visitors feel the same way. Rather than ME tell you how great we think Whitewater Canal is during the holidays, why don’t you check out the words and beautiful photos of someone who recently visited …

Click here and thanks, Joe, for sharing!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Strange flying objects over Metamora

Written by Joanne Williams, program developer at Whitewater Canal State Historic Site

A UFO was spotted in the Metamora, Indiana, region on Saturday, Nov. 21 around 6:30 p.m. Citizens reported seeing what appeared to be a sleigh pulled by flying deer-like animals. The animal at the front of this unusual vehicle had a red light flashing from its face area. A little later that same evening, the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site had a very special visitor from the far north, Santa Claus!

A crowd of around 300 visitors and area residents enjoyed an evening of music provided by Metamora’s own Catrina and the Baggy Bottom Boys and the Roamin’ Catholic Choir from New Alsace, Indiana. Santa himself led the carol singing. Hot drinks and sweet treats were provided by the Metamora Merchants Association. The evening ended with the lighting of the town Christmas tree located in the Metamora Grist Mill Park and a short fireworks display. This wonderful evening marks the beginning of the Christmas season in Metamora.

Santa appointed Sydney Snedegar, Whitewater Canal Historic Site’s miller, as a special elf. Syd, who has worked in the mill for 13 years, has used her decorating skills to give the Metamora Mill a special holiday look each of these years. Syd plans to retire in August of 2010 so this is the last year we can enjoy her skills in holiday decorating.

To enjoy the decorations at the Metamora Mill and the town of Metamora’s holiday designs, plan to visit during the Annual Metamora Christmas Walk.  The Christmas Walk begins on Friday, Nov. 27.  The Metamora Grist Mill will be open extended hours along with the shops in Metamora.  Every shop will be open and the Christmas spirit will be alive!  Candle lights line the pathways, and lanterns will line parts of the Whitewater Canal.  Strolling carolers and Santa will be there for everyone to enjoy.  Candles will be lit on Fridays and Saturdays. Extended hours for the mill are 12:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on November 27, 28; December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19. Sunday hours on November 29, December 6, 13, and 20 will be 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Good feelings and beautiful sights will continue with the Metamora Christmas Walk that begins on Friday, Nov. 27.  The Metamora Grist Mill will be open extended hours along with the shops in Metamora. Every shop will be open and the Christmas spirit will be alive! Candle lights line the pathways and lanterns will line parts of the Whitewater Canal. Strolling carolers and Santa will be there for everyone to enjoy. Extended hours for the mill are noon to 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 27, 28, Dec. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19. Sunday hours on Nov. 29, Dec. 6, 13 and 20 are noon to 5 p.m.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine