Photo provided
Ron Stone, left, president of the Sheridan Historical Society talks with Jim Pickett, executive director of the Museum.
Photo provided Ron Stone, left, president of the Sheridan Historical Society talks with Jim Pickett, executive director of the Museum.

SHERIDAN —The Sheridan Historical Society has purchased a new museum site at 315 S. Main St., and is remodeling the site for its collections and genealogy services that will provide more than twice its present space for heritage exhibits and family archive services.

The society, founded in 1969, had been gifted it present location at 308 S. Main St., by late industrialist Kenneth Biddle who used it for an office during retirement. It opened in 1972 and collections assembled were acquired and managed by volunteers.

“In essence, we have a museum that captures pioneer life, artifacts from an Indiana community that expanded from a hill-top log cabin in 1828,” said Ron Stone, historical society president. “We have a story to be showcased, and that includes our 1908 Black motor buggy and a restored Civil War American flag carried by a Sheridan resident in Tennessee battles.”

Parvin Gillim, local architect, produced a working draft of the schematic to guide interior redevelopment of the building — a structure which used to be the home of Sheridan’s Hippodrome movie theater.

“Members joined the board and officers to pool funds for the $40,000 real estate acquisition,” Stone said. “And we have a capital campaign underway. To date, the society, a not-for-profit, 501c3 organization, has attracted a total of more than $60,000. We anticipate $100,000 in total needs to handle purchase and repairs in the new facility projected to be open next summer.” 

Society members are pursuing plans to replace the HVAC system, electrical, front windows and ceiling/insulation. Dedicated spaces can be named for a contributor’s families or sponsored by corporations and businesses. Museum exhibits offer naming opportunities, including the pioneer kitchen, school displays, and the future. New exhibits are now being considered.

“After years of patchwork and some replacement, we came to a crossroads: if we repaired where we are, we would not be producing enough cost/benefits to justify investment and the expansion of space for exhibits pushed us in this new direction,” Stone said.

Also serving on the society are Steve Martin, first vice president; Phillip Pearson, second vice president; Connie Pearson, secretary; and Vicki Remsen, secretary. The board of directors includes Wilma Bush, Roberta Huff, Donna Jessup, David Ogle and Ginny Tackitt. Other staff includes Jim Pickett, executive director; Brenda Bush, renewal strategist; Susie Browning, corresponding secretary; Connie Mossburg, historian, and Laura Stapleton-Robbins, membership.

"In small communities, maintaining heritage is a duty of citizens", Stone said. "Sheridan has a rich history to capture the interest of both former and new residents.  The society sponsors many heritage-oriented events every year and we need good headquarters to house such operations.  Over the last decade, our membership has grown and we are still attracting new interest so we can actively keep our young people informed."

Contributions to the museum project are welcome as well as tax deductible and those interested in participating should contact Ron Stone at (317) 758-5170 or (317) 306-5058.  Or by e-mail: rmstone@ndwave.com. Checks for the new museum are to be mailed to the Sheridan Historical Society Inc., 308 S. Main St., Sheridan, IN  46069.