Did you know that the Indiana Historical Society has a team of field services staff who work with our colleagues at history organizations all over Indiana? If you haven’t heard of Local History Services, it’s probably because we don’t spend much time in the building. We’re road warriors, traveling thousands of miles each year to visit Indiana’s many historical societies, museums, libraries, archives and county historians. Last year alone we traveled more than 18,000 miles inside the state!
Why do we do this? At the Indiana Historical Society, we collect, preserve and share the state’s history, but we couldn’t possibly do it all alone. There are hundreds of organizations all over the state that are diligently working to save Indiana’s history, and our goal is to support them in that work.
The interesting thing is that in Local History Services, we don’t actually “do” history. We love history, we know some history, and we’re always interested in learning more history. However, the organizations we work with know their local history much better than we ever could. So instead of doing history ourselves, we provide resources they can use to continue being the best at doing just that. We get to play the supporting role in this story, and that’s exactly where we want to be.
So, what exactly do we do? We present workshops on topics ranging from collections care to fundraising to exhibit design. We meet with organizations to chat about strategic planning, board development and much more. We deliver and set up traveling exhibits. We manage the county historian program and maintain a lending library of museum-related topics. And, we get to be a part of a network of colleagues who collaborate to share resources.
But by far the best part is that we have the opportunity to meet the amazing, dedicated individuals who are passionate about Indiana’s history, and to see the places they work so hard to preserve. We love what we do, and we love being a part of the Indiana history community.
So if you see us rolling down the road in 2019, give us a wave! We’re off to visit someplace amazing.