Stan Hurt is a longtime and active member of IHS. He and his wife, Sandy, donated a set of photographs of his grandfather’s Fort Wayne photo studio and then helped us create You Are There 1904: Picture This. Stan not only supported the fabrication of the exhibit, but during its two-year run, he wrote encouraging notes to the actors and brought in a steady flow of visitors.
What did the Picture This exhibit mean to you?
To see my grandfather’s studio reproduced with impersonators of my grandfather [Charles Miner] and Aunt Stella was a dream come true. I visited the house where they lived many times, but never really heard much of their lives since Charles died when my mother was very young. The research really brought the era and my family to life. I feel very lucky to have had the experience of reliving that part of my family history. It was also a place for reunions with relatives from out of state who I had not seen in 60 years and some I had never met.
Where does your interest in history come from?
My interest in history comes from reading nonfiction history books as soon as I could read. I remember visiting my grade school library and working my way through the biographies of our founding fathers. My father’s side of the family had a lot of military involvement, so that was always a topic of discussion growing up. Through a Civil War relative on my mother’s side, I inherited his rifle and sword, so some of my play things were actually real artifacts from the Civil War. I also loved reading naval stories, and that led me to serving in the Navy. I was always mystified by my interest until I researched my mother’s family, which settled in the New London area of Connecticut in the 1600s and probably had a lot of sea experience.
What are you reading right now?
I enjoy reading military history books from the Revolutionary era to World War II. Presently, I am reading The Martian because it was a gift. Prior to that, I read a Civil War book – The Fateful Lightning by Jeff Shaara.
What are your hobbies?
My hobbies, in addition to reading, have generally been outside experiences like sailing, horseback riding, Civil War re-enacting, swimming and photography. The Civil War interest includes involvement as chief of staff of the Union Army in Indiana and collecting Civil War uniforms and accoutrements. I enjoy reading Civil War journals, studying the lives of personnel from privates to generals, and visiting the battlefields. Much of my Civil War interest includes photography on the battlefield and in the camps. I have enjoyed amateur photography since I owned my first Brownie camera, but at that time didn’t know my grandfather was a commercial photographer.
Why do you think it’s important to connect with the past?
I study the past because it is fascinating to learn how mankind has managed to survive through good and bad times. History does give us a roadmap on how to avoid the bad times, but we don’t seem to profit from the knowledge.