Knee deep in June

by LeAnn Luce, West Region Program and Earned Income Manager

“… Tell you what I like the best —
‘Long about knee-deep in June,
‘Bout the time strawberries melts
on the vine, — some afternoon …”

— James Whitcomb Riley

For many of us at our Indiana State Historic Sites, June brings a much needed reprieve from all of the hustle and bustle of holding site related events and having thousands of school children visit our historic treasures during the months of April and May. A welcome necessity in keeping our Indiana State Historic sites doors operating and open.

For most of our site managers, programmers and other site staff, this is a marathon month or two of activity and affords little time to enjoy their own site’s surroundings and the comings of goings of spring. While the phenomenal events of Mother Nature’s show of emerging flora and fauna are noticed, most staff are simply too busy to reflect upon her daily gifts.

And then it happens … we find ourselves “Knee deep into June” and we notice the special things Mother Nature has been saving for us — a new born baby fawn and her mother, a nest of hungry baby birds, new butterflies enjoying June foliage and a beautiful box of flowers that only just now have reached their prime. We see it and we are thankful for these sites and the wonderfully special places we work. This ain’t no ordinary job!

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Come and visit our Indiana State Historic Sites … I can assure you it has been worth the wait!

What People Do in Their Spare Time

Docent:  a person who leads guided tours esp. through a museum or art gallery (Webster).

Volunteer:  people who devote endless time and talent to things they are passionate about (ISM).

Editor’s note:  These folks are priceless to the museum, as they help to involve visitors with the exhibits through additional education.  They often have a special interest or passion in one aspect of the museum.

Such is the case with Jan Snowden.  She has volunteered for the Indiana State Museum for years, delighting children and adults with her rendition of Raggedy Ann.  In fact, Rags, the official Raggedy Ann Magazine highlighted her in their September issue.

 Through Snowden you’ll learn that this familiar American icon was developed by Johnny Gruelle for his daughter, Marcella.  She had an old hand-made rag doll and he drew a face on it one day to entertain her while she was sick. Pulling a book from his bookshelf, he combined the name from two separate James Whitcomb Riley poems,  “The Raggedy Man” and “Little Orphant Annie.” He said, “Why don’t we call her Raggedy Ann?” and so it was.   Though Gruelle was born in Illinois, James Whitcomb Riley is a beloved Hoosier author, giving some Indiana claim to Raggedy Ann and her pal, Andy.  There are dozens of Raggedy Ann and Andy books credited to Gruelle, as both author and illustrator.