Archived Exhibitions

Bosse Field: A Centennial Celebration  

May 17 - July 19, 2015


From May 17 - July 19 in the Main Gallery, the exhibition Bosse Field: A Centennial Celebration will recall the rich history of this grand facility that today stands as the third oldest ball park in regular use in the United States—surpassed only by Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field. This exhibition is part of a community-wide remembrance of this venerable facility.

On June 17, 1915, 8,082 people attended the opening of Evansville’s new baseball park. Mayor Benjamin Bosse threw out the ceremonial first pitch and the people of the City cheered the Evansville Evas, led by manager Punch Knoll, to a 4-0 victory over the visiting team from Erie, Pennsylvania. The inaugural evening at Bosse Field was capped off by a professional wrestling match.

This was followed by years of amateur and minor league baseball teams playing at the field, including the Evansville Braves, Evansville Triplets, and today’s Evansville Otters. The exhibition will recall the history of many of the teams that played at Bosse Field as well as famous baseball personages who took to the diamond at the facility. Among the over 30 National Baseball Hall of Famers who appeared at Bosse Field during their careers are Johnny Bench, Bob Feller, Stan Musial, Ed Roush, and Bob Uecker. 1985 American League Most Valuable Player Don Mattingly played many games at the facility during his years at Memorial High School.

Other sports have contributed to the rich history of Bosse Field. In the early 1920s, the Evansville Crimson Giants of the fledgling National Football League (NFL) played at the complex. Through 1971, many high school football games occurred at the field, including games played by NFL Hall of Famer and Super Bowl Champion Bob Griese when he quarterbacked Rex Mundi High School in the 1960s. The University of Evansville also played games on this turf, and in 1978, Indiana University and the University of Evansville played a soccer match at Bosse Field.

In addition to the rich heritage of sports at Bosse Field, many other events have occurred at the facility. These have encompassed public celebrations, political rallies, public school field days, and rock concerts. The latter included a music festival attended by 30,000 in 1972, and 16,000 in 1974. Ike and Tina Turner headlined in 1972, and the Allman Brothers were the lead act two years later.

Today, Bosse Field continues to be an important part of the fabric of Evansville and this exhibition helps recall the important role it has played for 100 years in our City. 


Exhibition Interprets City’s Brewing History

July 27-October 5



From July 27-October 5, 2014 in the Evansville Convention and Visitors Bureau Center for History and Science, BOTTLED AND KEGGED: A TOAST TO EVANSVILLE’S BREWERIES recalls an important part of our city’s history. Since the 1830s, breweries have played an important part in the story of Evansville. This exhibition will examine historic breweries of the city and illustrate the continuation of this tradition in current Evansville enterprises. Evansville’s first brewery opened in 1837. Historically known as the Old Brewery, many of the other significant breweries in Evansville trace their origins to this enterprise, including F. W. Cook and Sterling. The interpretation of the history of these two breweries is central to the exhibition. In 1853, F.W. Cook and Louis Rice, second generation Germans, began Cook and Rice City Brewery in Evansville. The brewery grew to sell more than 500,000 barrels per year, and in 1885 it was incorporated as F. W. Cook brewing Company. Following prohibition, its “Goldblume Beer” was the top seller in the nation. In 1955, an unresolved labor dispute led to the plant’s closing, and in the early 1960s, the Cook structures were demolished in preparation for the new Civic Center Complex. The company that bottled Evansville’s famous Sterling brand was founded in 1894. It was located at the northwest corner of what is now the Lloyd Expressway and Fulton Avenue. During Prohibition, the company bottled non-alcoholic drinks under the name Sterling Products. In 1964, the company merged with Associated Brewing Company of Detroit, and in 1972 it became part of the G. Heilman Brewing Company of LaCrosse, Wisconsin. After G. Heilman ceased production in the city in 1988, the facility reopened as the Evansville Brewing Company and continued in operation until 1997. Today, Evansville’s rich tradition of brewing is carried on by Tin Man Brewing Company, Carson’s Brewery and Turoni’s Pizzery & Brewery. The stories of Evansville’s breweries are a vital facet of our city’s heritage.



Legacies of World War II

April 27 – July 6




From April 27 – July 6, the Old Gallery is host to the exhibition Legacies of World War II. As the world commemorates the 70th anniversary of the heroic landings on the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944, this exhibition highlights local collections documenting the history of the war. The exhibition will encompass a cross section of material from the collection of the Evansville Museum and from private collections, including uniforms, weapons, photographs, and documents. These objects will explore a variety of aspects of humankind’s largest and deadliest conflict and will illustrate the enduring interest in the most monumental war in world history.

A special section of the exhibition will recall the history of LST 325 during World War II, including its participation in the Normandy Campaign.



Action!: Early Theaters of Evansville

January 26 – April 27



Presented in memory of DORIS SANDERS HALWES

As in most communities, entertainment was an important facet in the development of Evansville. A significant portion of these activities revolved around Evansville’s theater facilities. With the January 26 – April 27 exhibition Action! Evansville’s Historic Theaters, many of the historic structures that housed legitimate theater and motion pictures are examined.

In the early years of Evansville’s theaters, plays and musicals were common fare. Later, vaudeville acts and road shows performed at these venues. By the early 20th century, silent movies arrived and, in the ensuing decades, the stars of Hollywood appeared on the City’s silver screens. This exhibition will follow the evolution of theaters in Evansville through the middle of the 20th century. Featured will be images, architectural elements, and costumes that interpret this fascinating facet of Evansville’s past.

Action! Evansville’s Historic Theaters is presented in the Evansville Convention and Visitor Bureau Center for History and Science. 



On The Air:
The Early Days of Radio and Television in Evansville

October 13, 2013 – January 12, 2014


WIKY have been familiar call letters in the Evansville market since the late 1940s. In the early 1980s, WIKY donated AM 820 to the University of Southern Indiana and the station became WSWI. Today, WIKY FM 104.1 is the most listened to station in the Evansville market.


Presented in partnership with SOUTH CENTRAL COMMUNICATIONS


Evansville has long relied on radio and television for news as well as entertainment. For generations, families gathered around the radio and television to catch the latest headlines, ballgame, or talk show.

The Evansville Convention and Visitors Bureau Center for History and Science will feature an exhibition examining the development of these two mediums in our city. This exhibition that recalls the early days of radio and television in Evansville and also celebrates the 80th anniversary of radio, and the 60th anniversary of television in our city.

The arrival of radio and television in Evansville dramatically affected those living in the tri-state area. The advent of commercial radio in Evansville occurred in 1924 when WGBF AM signed on the air. Drawing on the achievements of other pioneer radio stations in the United States, the Finke Furniture Company set up WGBF in its store. The station presented a variety of local talent that featured singing and instrumental pieces; noted personalities included Pat Roper and George Van Horn. By 1937, it was affiliated with the National Broadcasting Company (NBC).

With the potential of radio demonstrated by the success of WGBF, other stations began to appear in the Evansville market. Significantly, WIKY AM signed on the air in the immediate post World War II period. Shortly thereafter, WIKY commenced operation of Evansville’s first FM station at 104.1 on the radio dial. What started as a fledgling radio station in the late 1940s, grew to become today’s South Central Communications – a holding company with multi-faceted interests, including radio stations.

While radio was thoroughly entrenched in Evansville by the early 1950s, television was in its infancy. The Evansville market’s first television station signed on the air in September of 1953 as WEHT‑Channel 50 (Channel 25), and began broadcasting from Henderson, Kentucky. As an affiliate of the Columbia BroadcastingSystem, Channel 50 provided the tri-state with entertainment from stars such as Jack Benny, Jackie Gleason, and Red Skelton.

Two months later, WFIE‑Channel 62 (Channel 14) came on the air as the first television station whose transmitter and studios were located in Evansville. It proudly claimed the title of “first in Evansville”. Originally aligned with NBC, the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), and Dumont, the station also featured local news, sports, cooking, and children’s programs.

In 1956, WTVW-Channel 7 came on the air. Its morning broadcasts were dedicated to educational broadcasts and its evening offerings were from ABC. Other stations have joined the Evansville market since the early years of television – including PBS station WNIN-Channel 9 in 1970 and WEVV-Channel 44 in 1983.

The continuing development of Evansville’s radio and television stations has provided citizens of the tristate with instantaneous coverage of local and world events and forms of entertainment that were unheard of a century ago. With On the Air, we look back at this interesting and eventful journey.


Hugh McGary And The Birth Of Evansville

Old Gallery, Sunday, February 10, 2:00 P.M.


Over the years, there have been many stories concerning the life of Evansville’s founder Hugh McGary, Jr. — some positive and some nefarious. In a PowerPoint presentation, Harold Morgan will discuss his recent research on McGary’s life and share his findings regarding this interesting historical character. Of special interest will be Morgan’s findings regarding McGary’s time after he left Evansville — a subject of some mystery. After retiring from consulting engineering in 2001, researching early area history and historical photos became a hobby for Harold Morgan.

Over the ensuing years, he has collected in excess of 40,000 historic area photos. He has written several genealogical books as well as the local history book Home Front Heroes: Evansville and the Tri-State during WWII; Home Town History, The Evansville, Indiana Area: A Photo Timeline; and Home Front Warriors: Building the P-47 Thunderbolt and the LST Warship in Evansville, Indiana during World War II.

Morgan is a graduate of the University of Evansville.





Moving Through The Past: 
Evansville’s Transportation History, Part II

Old Gallery, Sunday, April 7, 2 P.M.


As a follow-up to his earlier insightful lecture on transportation in Evansville’s early days, Stan Schmitt will continue his discussion of this interesting topic. His presentation will include an overview of the interurbans, automobiles and roads, aviation, and changes on the river and railroads.

Schmitt has spent nearly 30 years reading historic Evansville newspapers. His reading of Evansville newspapers includes publications beginning in the 1820s. He has also done research in places ranging from local libraries and courthouses to the Indiana State Archives, the Library of Congress and the National Archives. His local research has focused on the Wabash and Erie Canal, transportation, coal mining, the Civil War and other military history.

Schmitt serves on the Board of the Vanderburgh County Historical Society; the History Committee of the Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage; and the Critical Review Team of the Feel the History project. He is a past board member of the Canal Society of Indiana and served as editor of the Society’s newsletter.



Mary Dannettell's Evansville


Longtime friends Mary Ruth Oakley and Mary Dannettell.


Presented in partnership with an 


With the passing of Mary Carolyn Dannettell on December 8, 2011, the Evansville Museum and community lost a wonderful friend. Her passion for the City’s history will be remembered in the exhibition MARY DANNETTELL’S EVANSVILLENovember 25, 2012 – March 10, 2013. The exhibition will showcase Mary’s extensive collection of Evansville-related material that was generously donated to the Museum by her sister and brother-in-law, Sue and John Buthod, following her passing. Ranging from historic newspapers to dinnerware and advertising material, the collection provides a unique look at various aspects of Evansville’s past.

Mary Dannettell was a dedicated supporter of the Evansville Museum. A past member of the Museum’s History Committee, Mary was of invaluable help to Curator of History Thomas Lonnberg on numerous projects and exhibitions throughout the years. She was generous in sharing both her knowledge of Evansville’s past and her collection documenting the City’s history. In 2001, Mary received the Evansville Museum’s Distinguished Service Award – the institution’s highest honor – in recognition of her service.

A 1946 graduate of Evansville College, Mary taught at Columbia Elementary School and Harrison High School. She was a member of First Presbyterian Church for 67 years and served as the congregation’s historian. Mary was also active in P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization) and the Vanderburgh County Historical Society. 



Bus Tour To Explore World War II Sites Of Evansville

October 13, 2012



Made possible by an 

in cooperation with 


During World War II Evansville was transformed, as major new and existing companies produced a vast amount of goods for use by the United States and its allies in their struggle against the Axis Powers, the needs of thousands of troops travelling through the City were met by citizens of Evansville, and social gathering spots provided an outlet for those living in the community.

The sites of many of these important activities will be explored in the fun and informative bus tour Answering the Call: Evansville during World War II. This 2 ½-hour tour will interpret over 45 important World War II sites in Evansville with a running narrative describing the historical significance of each. Participants will see the locations of important industrial plants such as the Evansville Shipyard and Republic Aviation, key service organizations including the Red Cross Canteen and USO, and hotspots such as the LST Tavern and the Blue Bar. Photographs depicting many of the locations during World War II will be shared on the bus’ video screens so that participants will have a true sense of the activities that occurred in Evansville and can link these activities to present-day sites.

Leading the tour are local World War II researchers Harold Morgan and Pat Wathen and the Museum’s Curator of History Thomas Lonnberg. Morgan has spoken and written extensively on Evansville’s history, including his most recent publication, Home Front Warriors: Building the P-47 Thunderbolt and the LST Warship in Evansville, Indiana during World War II. Wathen worked for 28 years at The Evansville Courier in a variety of editorial roles, including managing and writing for the newspaper’s coverage of World War II’s 50th anniversary. He currently works in communications at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana. Lonnberg has created many exhibitions focusing on Evansville’s home front history in his 24 years at the Museum and has given numerous public presentations on the topic with a special emphasis on the Evansville Shipyard.

The Museum is presenting this tour in memory of Mary Carolyn Dannettell (1924-2011). Dannettell – a longtime educator in Evansville and friend of the Evansville Museum – worked at both Chrysler and the Evansville Shipyard during World War II.

Join us on this tour to learn more about one of the most vibrant times in Evansville’s history!

Date: Saturday, October 13
Time: 1:00 - 3:30 p.m.
Departure Location: Evansville Museum Parking Lot
Fees: $10 Members / $15 Not-Yet Members
Register by: Monday, October 8

Payment must be received on or before the registration deadline. Registration is guaranteed when payment is received. To pay by credit card, call the Museum at (812) 425-2406 during regular business hours or mail a check payable to the Evansville Museum at 411 SE Riverside Drive, Evansville, IN 47713.




Lecture To Examine Politics In Indiana During The Civil War

November 15, 2012



Presented in partnership with the 

and the 


As part of the Museum’s continuing Civil War Sesquicentennial commemoration, Brian Dirck, Professor of History at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana, will present the lecture Indiana: Crossroads of Conflict during the Civil War.

The state of Indiana serves as a microcosm for the many crosscurrents and conflicts prevalent among Northerners during the Civil War. Contrary to popular belief, the “Union” was not unified politically; it was in fact a fragile coalition of many disparate elements.

Dirck’s lecture will examine this through the prism of Indiana’s wartime politics, primarily by looking at two individuals: Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton and Indiana Senator Jesse D. Bright. Dirck is the author of Lincoln and Davis: ImaginingAmerica, 1809-1865Lincoln the Lawyer; and most recently Abraham Lincoln and White America.

A cash bar and a buffet dinner will precede the lecture.

Date: Thursday, November 15
Times: Cash Bar Reception: 6:00-6:30 p.m.
              Dinner: 6:30-7:30 p.m.
              Lecture: 7:45 p.m.
Cost: Dinner $25

For those attending the dinner, please send a check for $25 payable to the Vanderburgh County Historical Society at PO Box 2626, Evansville, IN 47728- 0626, by Thursday, November 8. Your check is your reservation.

For those wishing to ONLY attend the lecture, please RSVP to the Evansville Museum at (812) 425-2406 by Tuesday, November 13.



Hail to the Chiefs (and wannabe Chiefs)

July 15 - November 11, 2012


Richard M. Nixon, center back row,with members of the Boys’ Club while
campaigning for the presidency in1968.Collection of the University of
Southern Indiana Special Collectionsand University Archives.


Presented in partnership with the 

and the 


Through the years, future presidents, sitting presidents, former presidents, and those seeking the nation’s highest office have visited Evansville. Coinciding with the 2012 presidential election, this July 15 – November 11 exhibition looks back at these exciting moments in the City’s past.

Since the mid-19th century, visits by men who served as president include:

• James. K. Polk
• Millard Fillmore
• Benjamin Harrison
• William McKinley
• Theodore Roosevelt
• William Howard Taft
• Warren Harding
• Franklin Roosevelt
• Harry Truman
• Dwight Eisenhower
• John Kennedy
• Lyndon Johnson
• Richard Nixon
• Gerald Ford
• Jimmy Carter
• Ronald Reagan
• George H. W. Bush
• Bill Clinton
• Barack Obama

Over the same period, several presidential nominees who did not win the nation’s highest office also made campaign appearances in Evansville. These include:

• William Jennings Bryan
• Eugene V. Debs
• Charles Evans Hughes
• Wendell Willkie
• Thomas Dewey
• Henry Wallace
• Adlai Stevenson
• Barry Goldwater
• George Wallace

Five-Day Bus Tour To Explore Shiloh And Civil War Era Sites Of Mississippi

Wednesday, September 19 – Sunday, September 23

Melrose Plantation, Natchez


As the nation continues its sesquicentennial remembrances of the Civil War, the Evansville Museum presents an opportunity to visit key sites of this period in the bus tour Shiloh and Mississippi in the Civil War Era. Join the Museum’s Curator of History, Tom Lonnberg, for this exciting opportunity to explore locales associated with the most tumultuous years in our country’s history. The Museum is partnering with Lifestyle Tours of New Harmony, Indiana to ensure a quality travel experience for tour participants.


Tour Stops

• Shiloh National Military Park, including the Corinth Unit
• Mississippi Final Stands Interpretive Center
• Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site and Elvis Presley’s Birthplace
• Parkway Visitor Center for the Natchez Trace Parkway
• Natchez, Mississippi – including Melrose Plantation and Staton Hall
• Frogmore Plantation
• Windsor Ruins
• Port Gibson, Mississippi – including St. Joseph Catholic Church and the First Presbyterian Church
• Vicksburg National Military Park – including U.S.S. Cairo Museum and Vicksburg National Cemetery

Your Tour Includes

• Motor coach transportation from Evansville.
• Lodging for four nights.
• 9-meals.
•  Baggage Handling for one piece per person.

Cost of the Tour

• $887 per person, based on double occupancy.
• Single supplement on this tour is $196.


The tour fee includes a fully tax deductible contribution of $75 to the Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science. A receipt acknowledging your contribution will be sent upon request. 

For reservations and more information, please contact Lifestyle Tours at,, (812) 682-4477, or at




Peggy Newton To Present Program On Presidential And Candidates’ Visits To Evansville

September 30, 2012


JFK on the steps of the Old Courthouse.


On Sunday, September 30 at 2 p.m., local writer and researcher Peggy K. Newton will share the PowerPoint presentationA VISIT FROM THE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENTS-TO-BE. From a stopover by President elect James K. Polk in 1845, to candidate Barack Obama’s campaign visit in 2008, Evansville has hosted a number of men seeking the nation’s highest office. In her talk, Newton will discuss the importance of each visit by placing it in the historical context of the period.

An Evansville native, Newton is a library assistant in Special Collections at Willard Library where she helps patrons research genealogy and locate photographs and documents relating to local and regional history. She is also a freelance writer specializing in history, movies, and true crime. She has written and published two books, The Edmund B. Alexander and After the Ride – The United Spanish War Veterans. She attended Harrison High School and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication from the University of Southern Indiana. She is currently writing a book on the Leslie Irvin killings.

For complementary reservations, please call the Museum at (812) 425-2406.




 Evansville: Evolution of a City

February 19 – May 13



Evansville’s Name Source
Oil on Canvas, c. 1835 – 1840
John Brown West
Gift of Dr. Charles Leich


Brought to you by the Sponsors of the Bicentennial Celebration

On March 27, 1812, Hugh McGary journeyed to the land office in Vincennes to purchase property located at a horseshoe bend in the Ohio River in southwest Indiana. At what is today the corner of Riverside Drive and Main Street, he built a log cabin. It is from these humble beginnings that what is today Evansville began. In the February 19 – May 13 Main Gallery exhibition, the founding of Evansville, originally known as McGary’s Landing, and its development over the next 200 years are chronicled.

Included in the exhibition will be historic documents and artifacts relating to the early years of Evansville, including a portrait of City namesake Robert Morgan Evans; material focusing on the industrial development of the City, including the furniture, stove and plow industries; the rise and decline of Evansville as refrigerator capital of the country; the city’s experiences during World War II; and key events of the latter 20th century.

For more information about Evansville's Bicentennial visit



A Century of Service:
Girl Scouts of the USA

March 11 – July 1


Founder of Girl Scouts of the USA, Juliette Gordon Low, at right, with members of Troop #1
Collection of the Library of Congress


Presented in partnership with the

The Girl Scouts of the USA trace their origin to a meeting organized by Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low on March 12, 1912 in Savannah, Georgia. Since this first gathering of 18 young women a century ago, the Girl Scouts of the USA has touched the lives of over 50 million alumni and today boasts 3.2 million members. A Century of Service : Girl Scouts of the USA will celebrate the centennial of an organization that has not only touched the lives of its alumni, but that has had an impact on American culture as a whole. Today, the Girls Scouts of the USA continue the vision of Juliette Gordon Low as girls continue to have the opportunity to grow physically, mentally and spiritually as the organization strives to reach “every girl everywhere”.

This March 11 – July 1 exhibition will focus on the history of Girl Scouting in this region of the State. The Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana originally organized as the Raintree Council in September of 1957 and was officially chartered by the Girl Scouts of the USA in March of 1958. Through a variety of material documenting their history – including uniform, images, badges, and, of course, cookies – the vibrant history of the Girl Scouts of the USA will be shared.




Transportation Day 2012

June 3, 2012

For several years, the firemen of Ladder 1 of the Evansville Fire Department 
have generously shared their time with visitors to Transportation Day.

On Sunday, June 3 from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. the Evansville Museum will be alive with the sights and sounds of TRANSPORTATION DAY. Visitors will be immersed in an array of modes of transportation and can participate in a variety of hands-on activities.

Highlights of this annual, ADMISSION-FREE event include:

• Railroad Safety
• Historic Automobiles
• Vintage Motorcycles
• Kite Building
• High Wheel Bicycle Riding Demonstrations and Exhibit
• Train Stories
• Paper Airplane Making and more




Lecture Series Celebrates Evansville’s Bicentennial

As part of the commemoration of the City’s bicentennial, a series of five lectures will be presented at the Evansville Museum. As seating is limited for these free lectures, reservations are required. For reservations, call the Museum at 812-425-2406.


Presented in partnership with the 


Dr. Robert L. Reid
The 75th Anniversary:The Great Flood of 1937
Tuesday, January 31, 7:00 p.m. • EMTRAC

The 1937 Flood was the largest and most devastating natural disaster in the history of Evansville – a flood that also devastated the rest of the Ohio Valley. On the 75th anniversary of this momentous event, Dr. Robert L. Reid, retired Provost and Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Southern Indiana, will present the illustrated lecture detailing the catastrophe in Evansville.

Dr. Reid has published several books on local and North American history including Pilgrims On the Ohio: The River Journey and Photographs of Reuben Gold Thwaites; Picturing Texas: The FSA-OWI Photographers in the Lone Star State, 1935 – 1943; and A Good Neighbor: The First Fifty Years of Crane. His current research centers on the 1937 Ohio and Mississippi River flood.

Dr. Reid earned a B.A. from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.


An Evening with Lee and Richard Hamilton
Growing up in Evansville in the 1940s: Memories of Lee and Richard Hamilton
Tuesday, February 21, 7:00 p.m. • Old Gallery

What was Evansville like in the 1940s? In a special presentation, former Congressman Lee Hamilton and Reverend Richard Hamilton, in a conversation moderated by noted local historian William Bartelt, will share their memories of Evansville during the World War II and post war periods. Their insight into life during this decade will be a highlight of the Museum’s commemorations of the City’s bicentennial.

The Hamilton brothers – sons of Reverend Frank and Myra Hamilton – who both went on to distinguished careers, arrived in Evansville in 1943 after their father was appointed pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church. Lee Hamilton attended eighth grade at Wheeler School and both graduated from Central High School.

Lee H. Hamilton served as a U.S. Representative from Indiana from 1965 to 1999. During his tenure, he was Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Hamilton also was Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and of the Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran. Lee Hamilton remains an important and active voice on matters of international relations and American national security, having served as Vice Chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission) and numerous other Commissions. Currently, he is Director of The Center on Congress at Indiana University.

The Reverend Richard E. Hamilton was the senior pastor for more than 20 years at North United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. Prior to this appointment, he served as pastor for St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis as well as St. Mark’s Methodist Church in Bloomington. He served as Pastor of The Methodist Temple in Evansville from 1969-1974. He has been a regular panelist on the Focus on Faith television show, and served the Indianapolis area on boards including the Indianapolis Peace Institute, Better Health Care for Indiana, and the Ten-Point Coalition (Indianapolis Anti-Violence Street Ministry).


Dr. Darrel Bigham
Why Evansville? Survival of the Fittest AmongTowns and Villages of the Lower Ohio
Sunday, March 18, 2:00 p.m. • Old Gallery

Why did Evansville become a vibrant and growing town and then city on the banks of the Ohio River in the 19th century while other communities failed to reach this potential? In his lecture Why EvansvilleDr. Darrel E. Bigham, Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Southern Indiana, will explore this topic. This examination of Evansville’s growth is based on Bigham’s research for his 1998 book Images of America: Evansville; Towns and Villages of the Lower Ohio.

Since his arrival in Evansville in 1970, Dr. Bigham has written numerous books and articles focusing on regional, state and local history, including Images of America: Evansville; An Evansville Album: Perspectives on a River City; We Ask Only A Fair Trial: A History of the Black Community of Evansville, Indiana; Reflections on a Heritage: The German Americans in Southwestern Indiana; and On Jordan’s Banks: Emancipation and African American Community Development in the Ohio River Counties of Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana, 1861-1880.

Currently a member of the Evansville Museum’s Advisory Council, Bigham served as President of the Museum’s Board of Trustees from 1979-1981. Bigham received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in 1970.


Stan Schmitt
Moving through the Past: Evansville’s Early Transportation History
Sunday, April 15, 2:00 p.m. • Old Gallery

Stan Schmitt, an avid researcher of Evansville history, will present an overview of early transportation in Evansville, including the eras of the Wabash and Erie Canal and the arrival of railroads. Schmitt has spent nearly 30 years reading historic Evansville newspapers. His reading of Evansville newspapers includes publications from the 1820s through 1955. He has also done research in places ranging from local libraries and courthouses, to the Indiana State Archives, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives. His local research has focused on the Wabash and Erie Canal, transportation, coal mining, the Civil War, and other military history.

An independent title researcher, Schmitt received a history degree from Indiana University in Bloomington. He serves on the Board of the Vanderburgh County Historical Society; the History Committee of the Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage; and the Critical Review Team of the Feel the History project. He is a past board member of the Canal Society of Indiana and served as editor of the Society’s newsletter.


Harold Morgan
Turbulent Times: A Comparative Overview of Evansville in the Civil War and World War II
Sunday, May 13, 2:00 p.m. • Old Gallery

Well-known Tri-State history writer and researcher, Harold Morgan, will present a comparative overview of Evansville during the Civil War and World War II in a PowerPoint presentation. Morgan, who for the past several years has immersed himself in the study of Evansville and Tri-State history, will share his findings of the City’s past at two of the most critical eras of the Country’s history. He examines the similarities and differences of what Evansvillians experienced during these two conflicts.

After retiring from consulting engineering in 2001, Morgan began a hobby of researching early area history and historical photos. Over the ensuing years, he has collected in excess of 40,000 historic area photos. He has written several genealogical books as well as the local history book Home Front Heroes: Evansville and the Tri-state in WWII; Home Town History, The Evansville, Indiana Area: A Photo Timeline; and the recently published Home Front Warriors: Building the P-47 Thunderbolt and the LST Warship in Evansville, Indiana during World War II.

Morgan is a graduate of the University of Evansville.



Evansville On The Ohio

November 6, 2011 - February 26, 2012


Constructed in 1880 in Jeffersonville, Indiana, the packet steamboat
Evansville traversed the waters of the Tri-State until it burned on
July 31, 1931 at Bowling Green, Kentucky.


Presented in partnership with the 



The Town Hall exhibit is in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the opening of the western waterways to steamboat travel by the historic journey of the boat New Orleans. Evansville on the Ohio recalls this historic event and to a larger extent, examines the City’s relationship to the Ohio River.

As a community that developed from the shores of the Ohio River, Evansville’s history is inexorably tied to this waterway. The commerce and travel afforded by the development of the steamboat helped a fledgling Evansville gain its footing as an industrial hub in the 19th century. Products produced in and around Evansville – such as furniture, plows and stoves – were readily transported to consumers via the River. In the early to mid 20th century, the City’s location on the river helped lead to its selection as a manufacturer of Plymouth automobiles and producer of Landing Ship, Tanks (LSTs) during World War II. The Ohio has also been a hub of social activity in the City from the early days of Sunset Park through the recent development of the Greenway along the riverfront.

In contrast to the benefits of being a river city, Evansville has also suffered the wrath of the Ohio on several occasions. Floods created havoc in Evansville and the Ohio Valley and led to the creation of a vast levee system around the City. Major floods occurred in 1884 and 1913 and most memorably the great flood of 1937—the largest natural disaster in the City’s history. The 75th anniversary of the 1937 flood will be marked in this exhibition.

Today, the Ohio River continues to play an important role in the life of Evansville and its citizens and through documents, photographs and models, Evansville on the Ohio will illustrate the various aspects of the City’s historic interaction with this waterway.



Evansville Museum and Vanderburgh County Historical Society Partnering for
Special Riverboat Celebration

Tuesday, November 8, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M.


The Belle of Cincinnati Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau


In commemoration of the bicentennial of the first steamboat to travel the western waterways of the United States, on Tuesday, November 8 from 7-9 p.m. there is an opportunity to travel aboard the riverboat Belle of Cincinnati for a special dinner cruise.  The Evansville Museum and Vanderburgh County Historical Society have partnered to reserve seating aboard the flagship of BB Riverboats of Newport, Kentucky, for its two-hour journey from Marina Pointe in Evansville.  While aboard the Belle of Cincinnati participants will be surrounded by beautiful Victorian décor reminiscent of steamboats of a bygone era. 

Cruise attendees will enjoy abuffet dinner.  A cash bar will be available with soft drinks, mixed drinks, beer and wine.

Reservations are $43.00 per person and must be made with the Belle of Cincinnati by Friday, September 30th. Call them at 1-800-261-8586 with your credit card information. YOU MUST GIVE THE RESERVATION NUMBER 38745-1.This is the only way you will be guaranteed to sit with our group.

The riverboat will be docked adjacent to LST 325 at Marina Point with plenty of easy parking.

We hope you will plan to join us for this unique experience!



Welcome, Traveler

July 10 - October 23, 2011


The Vendome Hotel at the southwest corner of Third and
Sycamore Streets was one of the City’s main hotels for seven
decades. Theoriginal portion of the Vendome was designed by
the renowned  Reid Brothers architects and, in 1907 a major,
five-story addition designed by Frank Schlotter, was added
to the building. Ensuing additions in 1914 and 1927 created a
nine-story structure bringing the total number of guestrooms
at the Vendome to 301. The Vendome remained one the City’s
leading hotels through the early 1960s, but during this decade
business  declined and in 1972 the structure was demolished
in order to create more downtown parking. Today, the site is
occupied by Fifth Third Bank.


Presented in partnership with the

Since the early days of Evansville, hotels have offered accommodations to visitors to our City. WELCOME TRAVELER: A HISTORY OF EVANSVILLE’S EARLY HOTELS provides an overview of establishments that operated in Evansville from the mid-19th through the mid-20th centuries. Through documents, images and artifacts, this Town Hall exhibition will focus on well-known hotels such as the Washington House, Sonntag, St. George, Lincoln and Vendome and will also recall lesser-known establishments.

A central part of the exhibition will include a significant collection of material relating to the Hotel McCurdy. The collection – gift of Riverwalk Communities – includes table china, flatware, images and documents recalling the hotel’s vibrant past. A premier hotel in the City from the early to mid-20th century, the McCurdy accommodated prominent visitors and hosted many public functions and events at the facility throughout the decades following its opening in 1916.



Altered Auto Egos: Cars of the Follies

August 14 – October 2, 2011



Presented in partnership with an


The exhibition ALTERED AUTO EGOS: CARS OF THE FOLLIES features stylized images of street rods by photographer and artist Karen Genter at EMTRAC. These images were taken at the Frog Follies – the Evansville Iron Street Rod Club’s immensely popular event that annually draws over 4,000 vehicles – and provides a flavor of what makes this such an exciting happening each August. Appropriately, this exhibition will be at EMTRAC during this year’s August 26-28 Frog Follies.

Genter received her BA from Western Kentucky University in 1970 with a concentration in printmaking and subsequently worked as a teacher, a design engineer and a computer analyst. One of her major accomplishments was participating in the 2001 At Home project with Judy Chicago and creating the Golden Dreams bedroom. The Medicated Lamp created for the room now resides in the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Museum. In 2001, she was selected as one of Kentucky’s best female photographers and her works were included in a year long national exhibition. In 2007, Genter retired from the 9 - 5 world and since then has been excitedly pursuing her dreams and visions full-time.


Curator of History to Share
Findings of Hotel Research

Sunday, August 7, 2:00 P.M.



Curator of History Thomas Lonnberg will present an admission-free PowerPoint presentation based on the exhibition Welcome, Traveler: A History of Evansville’s Early Hotels. In this presentation, Lonnberg will share information and images recalling establishments that served visitors to our City from the 19th through the mid 20th century. Call the Museum at 425-2406 for your complimentary reservation.



Evansville Museum Offers
Four-Day Tour of Key Civil War Sites of
Eastern Tennessee and Northern Georgia

Thursday, September 15 - Sunday, September 18



As the nation commences its sesquicentennial remembrances of the Civil War, join us Thursday, September 15 – Sunday, September 18, 2011 for a four-day bus tour that will explore important battle fields of the Western Theater and other interesting locations recalling the most tumultuous time in the Country’s history.

Cost of your Tour : $724 per person, based on double occupancy Included in your Tour : Motorcoach Transportation; tours and admissions as shown in bold print; lodging for three nights; seven meals as shown with B = breakfast and D = dinner; related taxes, tips and baggage handling

Travel arrangements for the Evansville Museum’s Civil War Bus Tour are by Lifestyle Tours of New Harmony, Indiana. For reservations and more information, please contact Lifestyle Tours at 812-682-4477 or at You may also visit their website at

» Thursday, September 15
This morning we board our motorcoach, enjoy coffee and doughnuts and meet new friends as we head south. After a short break along the way, we arrive at Fort Donelson National Military Park. After enjoying a break for lunch in Clarksville, Tennessee, we continue to Nashville. Here at the Tennessee State Museum we will receive an overview of Tennessee in the Civil War. Late afternoon we will check-in at the Hilton Garden Hotel in Franklin, Tennessee. Dinner is included at the Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant in downtown Franklin. (D)

» Friday, September 16
In the morning we will visit Stones River National Military Park. The battle here took place December 31, 1862 – January 2, 1863. After lunch (on your own) our tour continues to Chattanooga, where we check-in at our home for the next two nights, the Hilton Garden Inn downtown. This evening we will travel back to 1864 at Buttonwillow Church Civil War Dinner Theater to see the original production of Steve Gipson’s “Granddaddy’s Watch”. (B, D)

» Saturday, September 17
Our day is busy visiting Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. Here we will learn about the battles in September and November of 1863. In the evening we will relax while enjoying a dinner cruise aboard the Southern Belle Riverboat in Chattanooga. (B, D)

» Sunday, September 18
Departing from Chattanooga, we travel back to Franklin, Tennessee for a visit to The Carter House.  Commandeered from the family, the house served as the headquarters of Brigadier General Jacob Dolson
Cox of the Federal Army during the Battle of Franklin. This battle, November 30, 1864, is described as the bloodiest five-hour period of the Civil War.

Later, we visit Carnton Plantation. This home was used as a hospital during the Battle of Franklin. The McGavock family, owners of the plantation during the battle, donated two acres to be used as a cemetery. Today it remains the final resting place for nearly 1,500 Confederate soldiers and is the largest privately owned military cemetery in the country. (B, D)

We will return to Evansville Sunday evening.



Reflections on the Civil War

March 13 - June 26, 2011



Collection of the Evansville Museum
Gift of Henry Meyer


Presented in partnership with
and the

Marking the sesquicentennial of the beginning of the most tumultuous period in our Nation’s history, REFLECTIONS ON THE CIVIL WAR  highlights Civil War material from the collection of the Evansville Museum and other area collections. The exhibition will include firearms, uniforms, military accouterments and period prints by Courier and Ives. The exhibition will place a special emphasis on Evansville’s experience during this conflict.

The outbreak of the Civil War catapulted Evansville into a perilous position. Its location on the banks of the Ohio River, which served as a demarcation between Northern and Southern states though not officially between the Union and Confederacy, not only subjected Southern Indiana to guerilla raids, but created a divide amongst some of its citizenry as to which side should gain their support, as some had relatives and friends living in the South. The citizens of Evansville and the surrounding area arrived at a consensus, however, and a staggering one tenth of the population of Vanderburgh County engaged in active service in the Union forces.


Transportation Day

June 5, 2011


Presented in partnership with the
in cooperation with 



On Sunday, June 5 from 12:00-4:00 p.m.the Evansville Museum will be alive with the sights and sounds of TRANSPORTATION DAY.  Visitors will be immersed in an array of modes of transportation and can participate in a variety of hands-on activities. At Transportation Day 2010, Andy Clark of the Indiana State Police piloted a helicopter to the Evansville Museum.  In the photo above Clark takes-off from the Museum’s parking lot.  In the background is an impressive tractor from Atlas Van Lines, which was also part of the day.

Highlights of this annual, ADMISSION-FREE event include:

  • Railroad Safety

  • Historic Automobiles

  • Vintage Motorcycles

  • High Wheel Bicycle Riding Demonstrations and Exhibit

  • Kite Building

  • Train Stories

  • Paper Airplane Making

  • A Fire Truck

  • A Police Car

  • A State Police Helicopter

  • A Moving Van

  • and more


Caring Hands

August 29, 2010 - February 27, 2011



Presented in Partnership with


Today, the citizens of the Tri-State are fortunate to have many modern medical facilities within easy driving distance.  In the mid-late 19th century, Evansvillians were only beginning to have hospitals to treat maladies of the day.  The August 29, 2010-February 27, 2011 Town Hall exhibition Caring Hands: Evansville’s Early Hospitals will examine hospitals that served our City from the mid-19th through the mid-20th centuries and will also highlight significant developments since that time period. 

Highlighted hospitals include:


U. S. Marine Hospital later St. Mary’s Hospital

Between Wabash and Tenth Avenues on the Bank of the Ohio River

Opened in 1856, the U. S. Marine Hospital was one in a series of facilities in the Country set up to care for disabled and ill merchant seaman. Based on a British model, the Marine Hospital Service was created by an Act of Congress in 1798.  The U. S. Marine Hospital in Evansville was constructed at a cost of $73,000.  It, along with other facilities in the City, also cared for soldiers during the Civil War.  In the early 1870s, the building became the first home of St. Mary’s Hospital. 


St. Mary’s Hospital

Southeast Corner of First and Columbia Streets

In 1872, the closest public health care for the citizens of Evansville was in Louisville, Kentucky.  This situation changed with the arrival of Sister Marie Voelker and three other members of the Daughters of Charity.  They set up a healthcare ministry in the former Marine Hospital on the bank of the Ohio River.  In 1894, St. Mary’s moved to the facility shown in this image and operated from this facility for the next 62 years.  In a well-orchestrated and highly published event, St. Mary’s moved its operation to its present location on Washington Avenue in 1956.  The hospital has continued to expand its campus over the past 54 years. 


Evansville Sanitarium later Welborn Baptist Hospital

414-416 Southeast Fourth Street

Opened as the Evansville Sanitarium in the early 1890s in this structure, this entity grew and underwent a number of changes over the years.  The Fourth Street facility was renamed Walker-Welborn Hospital in 1916 and became Welborn Memorial Baptist Hospital in 1944 following its purchase by First Baptist Church.  During this timeframe many physical expansions occurred at the hospital.  In 1999, St. Mary’s Hospital purchased Welborn Baptist Hospital. 


Evansville State Hospital

3200 Lincoln Avenue

Opened in 1890 and originally known as the Southern Indiana Hospital for the Insane, the Evansville State Hospital grew into a large complex of structures by the mid-20th century.  Much of the original facility was destroyed by a massive fire in 1943, but was rebuilt at its location on the north side of Lincoln Avenue east of Vann Avenue.    A new 168-bed Evansville State Hospital facility for the treatment of mental illnesses opened in 2003 on the same grounds. 


Deaconess Hospital

604 Mary Street

In 1892, the Protestant Deaconess Association laid plans for a new hospital in Evansville.  This culminated with the opening of Deaconess Hospital in a remodeled, near-downtown home in 1893.  Six years later, in 1899, Deaconess moved into the $50,000 structure shown in this image.  Through the decades, Deaconess has continued to expand its campus in Evansville to an area that covers 20 city blocks.  Today, Deaconess has facilities throughout the Tri-State, including Deaconess Gateway Hospital and the Women’s Hospital east of Evansville in Warrick County. 


Gilbert Hospital

Corner of Harriet and Michigan Streets

In 1897, Dr. William Gilbert opened The Gilbert Hospital.  The hospital operated in the facility depicted in this image until 1910.  In 1910, Gilbert moved the hospital to a new building at Riverside Drive and Walnut Street.  Today, the Riverside Drive facility is the Hadi Shrine Temple.  



Cornucopia: Artifacts From The History Collection

February 7 - August 15, 2010




Presented in partnership with


Since the origins of the Evansville Museum’s permanent collection in 1904, a veritable cornucopia of historical artifacts have been collected.  This includes utilitarian material, items documenting the history of our City, and significant historical documents and photographs.  From early household appliances to a document signed by Napoleon, the collection of the Evansville Museum contains many interesting and unique objects.  This exhibition highlights a cross-section of this diverse holding. 

The Evansville Museum is sincerely grateful to the many people who have donated their treasures to our institution through the years.



Views of a City: Images from the Donahue Collection

April 26, 2010 - January 25, 2011



Circa 1951 Service Station in Evansville
Donahue Studios Photograph


Presented in partnership with the


The Town Hall exhibition VIEWS OF A CITY: IMAGES FROM THE DONAHUE COLLECTION features images produced from the late 1940s through the early 1990s by Donahue Studios, a leading commercial photography studio in Evansville. This exhibition is presented in partnership with the EVANSVILLE COURIER AND PRESS.

Brothers Richard and Tom Donahue operated the family-run Company for over forty years. During that time, many family members and competent and valued employees were involved in the business. Some family members worked there occasionally and others, including brother Pat who served as Office and Sales Manager, remained long-time employees. For five decades, Donahue Studios photographed a cross-section of Evansville including businesses, products, buildings, and people. Their client portfolio included an impressive roster of major area and national companies including Mead Johnson, Whirlpool, Sears & Roebuck, S.S. Kresge Company, Emge Packing, and Sterling Brewery. Much of the Studios’ work involved showcasing a product from these companies in a studio set. The impeccably built and appointed sets were constructed under the supervision of Tom and Richard Donahue.

Maintained by Patricia Donahue, widow of Tom Donahue, this multitude of photographs provides an invaluable documentation of Evansville’s past. Many of these images from the Donahue Collection, as well as historic equipment used in the studio and information pertaining to the history of the Company, will be featured in the exhibition.



About Kites

March 8–May 31




Presented in partnership with the


ABOUT KITES features 16 full-color panels describing the history and technology of kites. These panels were originally created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and are now available through the Drachen Foundation of Seattle, Washington.

The Drachen Foundation, an archive and study center dedicated to man’s oldest flying toy, the kite, teaches world culture, history, art, and science through creative kite exhibits, workshops, and publications.