Focusing on the way history can help us understand our present is the purpose of a new gallery exhibit called The Past in Our Present. The gallery contains frequently-rotating materials reflecting current events — showing the timely nature of what some would deem ancient history.
The current exhibit, located in the Herbst Family Gallery, explores the topic of inflation. While we hear about inflation on an almost daily basis and feel it each time we visit the grocery store and gas pump, many of us know little about how it has affected the United States in the past, its evolving definition, or the role Hoosiers played reacting to inflation in the past.
The exhibit explores four moments in history when inflation was center stage — starting with the Civil War, when many Hoosiers led the charge as members of the Greenback Movement, an effort to keep the large amount of cash for the Civil War circulating.
It will look at the eras surrounding each World War and how those conflicts created inflationary concerns as demand skyrocketed with so many resources going to the war effort. Some of the patriotic tasks our fellow Hoosiers engaged in during this period, like Victory Gardens and Liberty Loans, were in part an effort to curb inflation.
Finally, we will explore a time many of our visitors remember, the inflation of the 1970s. While having complex causes, its outcomes presented real challenges for everyday Americans. Just like today, debates over inflation entered the political arena with Gerald Ford launching his WIN campaign, an acronym for Whip Inflation Now.
Supported by Ayres Foundation, Inc.