Longtime member Marianne Doyle is the Boone County historian and serves on the IHS Public Programs and Outreach Committee. For 15 years, she was first genealogy librarian and then museum director for the P.H. Sullivan Museum and Genealogy Library in Zionsville. She lives in Zionsville with her husband of 43 years, Guinn, who grew up three doors down from her in New Albany. Marianne has two sons, a daughter-in-law and three grandsons, and the whole family is into history.
How did you develop a fascination with history?
I was raised in a family of teachers where it was very important. Oddly enough, maps were very important– and maps always go hand-in-hand with history.
Why do you think it’s important to connect to the past?
It has always greatly bothered me that we talk about studying history because we don’t want to make the same mistakes over again. I think we should be studying history in order to repeat the things that have made us strong. We should see as Americans what we have done and what we should be doing, and have an understanding of our past and of our families.
What do you think of the Indiana Experience?
I absolutely love it! Destination Indiana is a wonderful opportunity for families to experience Hoosier history. I find it interesting to blend the old with the new technology. I spend a lot of time there with my grandsons, and they love it. To go through the mist [to the You Are There experiences] is fascinating. I found RFK Speaks [You Are There 1968: Robert F. Kennedy Speaks] very moving. That was a pivotal time in my life. I was a young person in Indiana living among the confusion of the civil rights movement, the assassination of Martin Luther King and Vietnam, and it was a very difficult time. The exhibit was a springboard for conversations because my grandsons asked me what it was like for me and what I thought about RFK and Martin Luther King. I told them how the civil rights demonstrations changed our attitudes, and to sit with my grandchildren and tell them what happens later – to RFK – it’s very interesting. I can’t be the only grandparent or parent who has had this chance to discuss our past and to make it so relevant.
What do you do in your spare time?
History! Is there any other fun? I enjoy being president of the Zionsville Historical Society and on the board of the Maplelawn Farmstead. I also do costuming for the local community theater – the Off-Main Street Players – and conduct history tours for the Chamber of Commerce. In the last 18 months or so, I formed a Juniors [Indiana Junior Historical Society] group of fourth- through eighth-graders with my partner-in-crime Lynne Manning, and we’re having a great deal of fun with them. My husband and I like to do history tours. Our last one was to New Harmony, and we’re planning a trip to Cape Cod and New Bedford in Massachusetts.
What are you reading?
I can’t get enough of history! Right now, I’m reading David McCullough’s Truman. I got a Nook for Christmas, and I just love it. I wasn’t sure I was going to, but I really do.