Dubois County Museum to celebrate its history for annual membership dinner

The Dubois County Museum Board will hold their Annual Membership Dinner on Thursday, January 31, 2019, at the Museum at 2704 N. Newton Street, Jasper, with fellowship beginning at 6:00 p.m., and dinner to follow at 6:30 p.m. 

This year’s theme is “Our History, Our Heritage, Our Legacy”.

Cost of the meal is $20 per person. Reservations with payment need to be made by January 23, 2019. Reservations forms were included in the membership newsletter in December, printed on the emailed newsletter in January, and available at the museum lobby desk. Return the RSVP to Dubois County Museum, c/o Jean Hoffman at 2704 N. Newton Street, Suite A, Jasper, IN  47546.

After dinner, a membership meeting will be called to order by Museum President Amy Weyer. She will give an update on the museum. Following the meeting, the featured speaker will be Kathy Tretter, former museum board member and editor of the Ferdinand News. Mrs. Tretter will entertain the crowd with memories of the past, the present programs, and a look to the future.  The dinner committee will also display the Hummel Collection recently bequeathed to the museum from the Mae and Don Metzger Estate.

A history…

Can it possibly be over twenty years ago that an enthusiastic group of people from the county gathered and wished for a place to display items from the rich past of Dubois County? 

An idea was expressed and by July 9, 1997 this group, made up of people from the Dubois County Chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) got the idea for a county museum off the ground.  As an appetizer of things to come, they offered to the public a meeting display of WW II Military Memorabilia by avid collector Marty Vaught and others at Trinity Church of Christ parish hall.  Then, they met monthly, established a Planning Committee, then formed a Mission Statement, the by-laws, tax exempt and not-for-profit status, and what we know today as Dubois County Museum, Inc. was established. 

In May of 1998, a call went out for county residents to support the museum by purchasing a Charter Membership. By January 1999, about 320 members had purchased a membership for $10 a person, or $20 a couple.   

A Board of Directors was elected and the first Membership Dinner was held on March 11, 1999. The fifteen members of the first Board of Directors were Hugo C. Songer, President, Mary Ann Hayes, Vice President, Darla Blazey, Secretary, Lowell Glendening, Treasurer, Dennis Heeke, Melvin Meyer, Joyce Jackle, John Fierst, Fred Hollinden, Janet Kluemper, Tom Kellams, Ida Joe Temple, Mary Lou Schnell, Arthur Nordhoff, Jr., and Karen Wallems. 

Other people who made up the planning committee included: Hilary Blessinger, Nancy Eckerle, Joe Fleck, Joseph Gogel, Barbara Mathies, Eileen Schaber, Rosemary Stewart, Mike Temple, and Tom Thacker.  Committees were formed:  Finance, Membership, Program, Collections, and Budget. Additional people added to these committees were Jack Newton, Darren Patterson, Doris Hildenbrand, Debra Smith, Geriann Lueken, Michael Kluemper, Sally Boyles, Shane Flynn, Stanley Jochem, Joe Rohleder, Tom Schum, and W. Jean Hoffman. 

The historic Gramelspacher-Gutzweiler Building was chosen to house a temporary museum. Items relating to Dubois County history were soon requested and collected. 

A Grand Opening was held on August 6 and 7, 1999, in conjunction with the Jasper Strassenfest.  As with anything that is supported and loved by many, it soon outgrew its building. In 2003, Dubois County Museum, Inc. was gifted the former Jasper Corporation building, a 145,000 square foot building, from Kimball International on 2704 North Newton Street in Jasper. This location became the new home of the museum in 2004 and has become a showplace around the state as the home of Dubois County’s rich heritage and history. 

In 2005, the museum was awarded the Certificate of Commendation for General Excellence by the American Association for State and Local History. In 2010 the museum was presented the Outstanding Historical Organization Award by the Indiana Historical Society, in 2013, museum Board member and exhibit volunteer Cheryl Sermersheim,  received the Frank and Judy O’Bannon Heritage Enrichment Award from Historical Southern Indiana for creating Main Street Dubois County and the Little Pioneer Children’s Interactive Area at the museum, and in 2016 the German Immigration Exhibit was awarded a Legacy Award winner by the Indiana Bicentennial Committee. 

The present location has 50,000 square feet of exhibit space, and the collection now has reached 42,000 pieces with more items added weekly. The DCM staff continues to consist entirely of volunteers. 

Memberships of individuals, couples, families and businesses number over 500.  It continues to be a non-profit organization committed to the collection, preservation and interpretation of historical artifacts and information important to the citizens of the county. 

Museum operations are funded by annual memberships, admission fees, donations and gifts from visitors, area residents and businesses.  Visit the museum at 2704 N. Newton Street in Jasper to find out more about becoming a member, volunteering, or adding an artifact to the collection. 

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