A minute (or two) with Mitch

The Museum is buzzing right now as families work to squeeze in one last hoorah before school goes back in session. Here at the Museum, we are preparing for a new year of school visits and expanded educational programming.

Some of the things I enjoy most about working at the Museum is listening to the stories you share during your visits, listening to the younger guests tell me what their favorite thing to do at the Museum is, and welcoming out of town guests to our great community. But I also know that I do not get to see all of you and share updates on the Museum regularly so I wanted to take a brief moment and let you know about some exciting things we have planned.

Faces of Change Exhibit Opening

Earlier this year the Museum received a grant from Indiana Humanities to develop a new exhibit at the Museum exploring themes from a traveling Smithsonian-curated exhibit, called “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.” The Museum has opted to introduce a new permanent exhibit located on our second floor called Faces of Change that will highlight 16 individuals from Wabash County who have impacted change in Wabash County and rural America. We are finishing the exhibit design and plan to have an exhibit opening later this month.

Crystal Gayle Theater

The Crystal Gayle Theater has been completely updated with new technology including a short throw projector, a new 120” screen, and automation software. These updates are allowing the space to be used in a more creative approach. Guests can still watch A Journey Through Time, a 15-minute introductory video to Wabash County, but in addition educators can hold classroom style sessions in the space and additional movies can be shown. Watch for an exciting announcement in a couple weeks about a partnership we have formed with the Fort Wayne PBS station to utilize this space!

Exhibit Updates

The Museum boasts just over 90 exhibits and if you have been in recently you know that many of them are in need of repairs. Some of our most popular exhibits, including the model train set, are starting to show their age and we are working diligently to make these repairs as funds are available. As we repair exhibits, we are taking the time to make improvements to content and automation to refresh the exhibit, introduce new material, and ensure they are welcoming to guests of all ages. Thanks to our newly released exhibit sponsorship program, local individuals and corporations are partnering with us to make these improvements possible.

Parkview Wabash Education Center

Our team has finalized the design for Phase 3 improvements to the Parkview Wabash Education Center. These will include nearly doubling the size of the play structure to add components for older kids, moving a wall to expand the area for the Big Blue Blocks, creating an area for crawlers and toddlers, introducing new exhibits in the farm house and barn, and improving the table based activities. The current campaign goal for these improvements is just over $50,000. Plan to see a release for this campaign in the coming month or two as we are excited to get these improvements underway.

Of course none of this would be possible without your support through financial gifts and also your input on our exhibits and programming. We value your opinion and continually work to improve the Museum for current and future generations.

A quote I refer to often from Walt Disney goes, “Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.”

We want you to not only enjoy coming to the Museum but also sharing your love for the Museum with friends, family, and colleagues.

Thank you for supporting the Museum and as always we would love to hear your ideas on how we can continue to improve and grow the Museum.

Best regards,

Mitch Figert

President & CEO

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