Opened in late 2005, the Wabash County Historical Museum is located at 36 E. Market Street, in downtown Wabash, Indiana. After renovating an historic 1894 building, our exhibits tell the story of Wabash County through modern, interactive displays.
Entering the building, the first thing you see is the glacier exhibit. This stylized piece represents a core drilled into a glacier and tells the story of how the effects of the glaciers continue to influence life in Wabash County. This exhibit goes right through the first floor ceiling to the second floor, drawing the eye up and letting you know that there is indeed a second floor!
Our 32-seat theater shows “A Journey Through Time”, a custom-produced documentary that sets the stage for the rest of the tour of the museum.
The “Forest to Field” area explores the Native Americans who first inhabited the area. This is where the Frances Slocum exhibit is located. Frances was a red-headed, five-year-old Quaker child when she was kidnapped by the Delaware Indians, then given to the Miami. She learned the Miami language, married a Miami chief, and although the Slocum family finally located her after 60 years, she continued to live with her Miami family until her death. Her recently-restored wearing blanket is now on display.
Exhibits on farming, the Wabash-Erie canal, and trains explain their impact on the county. You can throw the switch to light the county courthouse that makes Wabash the first electrically-lighted city in the world, and learn about business pioneers in the county, including Mr. Mark C. Honeywell. We also have a restored Service Motor Truck, manufactured in Wabash, on display. There are exhibits on Wabash County’s participation in each war, right up to Iraq, and about the creative, successful, and famous people from the county: Crystal Gayle, Thomas Marshall, the creator of the Yellow Pages, the creator of Crest toothpaste, among others.
On the second floor, we have an O-gauge model train. The layout was designed by John Corso, a former art director in Hollywood who worked on movies like Coal Miner’s Daughter, The Breakfast Club and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. There is a display about sports in the county, from the Wabash Athletic Association to current high school players. We have a “dig site” for small children to brush away sand and find coins, bones, and tools, embedded in the stone below. Also loved by the kids (and adults!) are a set of scooters that have screens in front of them. A tour around the county is projected on the screens. (Watch out if you are prone to motion sickness!) The archives are on the second floor, containing tens of thousands of documents and photos.
Here we also have a section that is dedicated to the old museum, called Memorial Hall. Instead of the modern, interactive exhibits like in the rest of the museum, this is an old-fashioned place that pays homage to our roots. Recognizing the charm of our old museum, we made this section as much like the old as possible.
We are constantly striving to improve the quality of the museum and bring new and innovative exhibits to our Changing Exhibit Gallery. We hope to see you at the museum soon. . . and often!