The Children's Room
The theme of this room is children's schools and
their lifestyles during the mid-1800s and up to the turn of the century. The focus of the room is the
one-room school display. We conduct one-room school programs here and also have a tour developed
specifically on the subject of early schools in Elkhart County. The map on the wall shows the location
of the one-room schools in this county. The dolls and toys are a valuable collection of artifacts,
however, it should be noted that not all children were able to have store-bought toys such as these.
You may also note that the pictures on the west wall represent the significance of the family pet to
the children during this time period.
(Mid 1800's-early 1900's) The displays in this room are arranged
to depict the home life of the early settlers, although some of the artifacts are representative of a
later time period. Many of the furnishings such as the rope bed and the dry sink, seem simple now, but
would have been found only in the homes of the wealthy when this county was first settled. The pioneer
family socialized together (talking, singing, or playing musical instruments) at their kitchen tables
such as the one in this display.
The railroad was a pivotal point in the development of the train
and the steam engine represent the beginning of industrialization. The train represented a whole new
means of transportation for local citizens and industry. The ticket booth in this room came from the
train station located in Bristol. The telegraph machine was an early form of communication and made the
pony express obsolete. It was the first form of instant communication and was used in the railway
stations to relay messages in code. The dishes were an example of the type used in the dining car in
the New York Central passenger train that ran through Elkhart County.
The Native Americans of this region were the first people known to
occupy this territory. Primarily they were of the Potawatomi tribe. The arrowheads and grinding stones
are an example of the types of tools these people used. The Indians belonged to different tribes and
each tribe was different in terms of language, dress, and type of housing. The Indians from this area
did not live in tepees and they did not do colored beadwork. The crinoid stern fossil is an example of
the type of beads they might have used in this area.
While we find many of the pioneer tools to be crude, the tools made by the Native Americans were
actually early prototypes for many of these tools. The root was used as a broom. They also used a
woven basket with mud packed into the sides as a water carrier.
The Township Room
The significance of this room is to show the
different townships of the county and explain how they were formed. The cases are arranged in the room
to be somewhat as the townships are on the map. The 1861 map in the center was one of the first maps to
be made in this county.
The Memorial Room
This room consists of articles related to those
who served in the military service from Elkhart County. We begin with the drum from the civil war in
the hallway. This drum belonged to Avery Brown, who at age eight was believed to be the youngest person
to serve in the war. This display is made up of articles brought back by the military veterans of
Elkhart County. The items displayed covers wars from the Revolutionary War to Desert Storm.
The Victorian Row House
The furnishings in this room were typical near the
turn of the century. Many of the items in this display depict the elaborate and sometimes impractical
styles used by the Victorians. This room is used to give an example of what is meant by "Victorian." It
should be pointed out that not everyone who lived during this time could afford this standard of
living. The word "Victorian" comes from Queen Victoria who was Queen of England from 1838 until 1901.
The fashions of the Queen and the English people during this time created this period. The black dress
with the high collar would be typical. The Victorians were very modest and black became very popular
after the queen's husband died. The people wore black in sympathy for the queen, who grieved for an
The Not-So-Long-Ago Room
This room is set up to depict the 1930s and 40s.
Electricity and modernization of the home became more widespread during this time. This also covered
the time of the Great Depression. During the 1930-40 era electricity & modernization of the home was
taking place. Note the PBX Switchboard. This room is divided into (4) four sections, the kitchen, a
formal dining room, bedroom and living room.
Here one will find a series of shops of the early 1900's. The
displays are to represent the initial consumer era. You may explain the contrasts between the way these
shops were operated during this period and the way they are operated today. Although some of the
artifacts in this room may seem primitive to the children, it should be explained that many of these
items would be a luxury during the early 1900s. The skeleton in the doctor's office is from a teenage
girl. The shops include a post office, seamstress, dental, doctor, pharmacy, barber and a dry good
Compare shopping malls of today to the Emporium.
The artifacts in this room are examples of cobbler's tools,
broom-making tools, a blacksmith's shop, and a woodworking shop. These displays show how some of the
settlers who had jobs away from the home might have made their living. The first settlers would have had
to be able to do all of these things for themselves before these shops were established in a nearby town.
Later, individuals became adept at certain skills and developed these trades.
The library contains photos, news clippings and other written
materials for people who are doing historical research related to Elkhart County. Local residents and
other researchers come from all over the country to look up information on their ancestors, various
businesses, or history on local towns. There are also archives downstairs, which contain governmental
records, newspapers, and other information, used by the researchers. Most of the displays in this room
are related to county government.
The Treasures of the Past
The displays on the west side were considered to be
masculine hobbies and pastimes, and the items on the east side were thought to be feminine hobbies when
these rooms were first arranged. Elkhart is considered the band capital of the nation, and there are
several related items in the back of the room on the west side related to this subject. The items on the
east side depict the hobbies such as sewing, spinning wool, and weaving. In the rotating displays, which
are on the east side, are artifacts that are on temporary display. The rotating displays do not follow
the masculine and feminine themes. Temporary or rotating exhibits are located in this room.
The Auditorium provides the perfect location for a
wedding reception, corporate event, family gathering or special occasion. The Auditorium holds
approximately 350 people and comes equipped with a full kitchen. A small meeting room is also available. The Auditorium is also home to the Elkhart County Sports Hall of Fame. Plaques and banners honor the men and women who have been connected in a significant way to Elkhart County sports. The flags represent all of the high schools which have existed in Elkhart County.
The flags are made using the school colors and the name of the school mascot is listed on the reverse
side. For information on reserving the auditorium please contact our administration office.