Museum schedules membership dinner

The Dubois County Museum Board will hold its annual membership dinner on Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Dubois County Museum, 2704 N. Newton St., Jasper. Fellowship will begin at 6 p.m. with dinner to follow at 6:30 p.m.

This year’s theme is “Our History, Our Heritage, Our Legacy.” Cost of the meal is $20 per person.  Reservations with payment needs to be made by Thursday, Jan. 23. Reservations forms were included in the membership newsletter in December, printed on the emailed newsletter in January and available at the museum lobby desk. Return reservations to Dubois County Museum, c/o Jean Hoffman, 2704 N. Newton St., Suite A, Jasper IN  47546.

After dinner a membership meeting will be called to order by Museum President Amy Weyer. She will give an update on the museum. Following the meeting, the featured speaker will be Kathy Tretter, former museum board member and editor of The Ferdinand News. Ms. Tretter will entertain the crowd with memories of the past, the present programs and a look to the future. The dinner committee also will display the Hummel Collection recently bequeathed to the museum from the Mae and Don Metzger estate.

More than 20 years ago, an enthusiastic group of people from the county gathered and wished for a place to display items from the rich past of Dubois County. An idea was expressed and by July 9, 1997, this group, made up of people from the Dubois County Chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons got the idea for a county museum off the ground.

As an appetizer of things to come, they offered to the public a meeting display of WW II Military Memorabilia by avid collector Marty Vaught and others at Trinity Church of Christ parish hall. They met monthly, established a planning committee, then formed a Mission Statement, the by-laws, tax exempt and not-for-profit status after which Dubois County Museum Inc. was established.

In May 1998, a call went out for county residents to support the museum by purchasing a charter membership. By January 1999, about 320 members had purchased a membership for $10 a person or $20 a couple. A board of directors was elected and the first membership dinner was held on March 11, 1999. The 15 members of the first board of directors were Hugo C. Songer, president; Mary Ann Hayes, vice president; Darla Blazey, secretary; Lowell Glendening, treasurer; Dennis Heeke, Melvin Meyer, Joyce Jackle, John Fierst, Fred Hollinden, Janet Kluemper, Tom Kellams, Ida Joe Temple, Mary Lou Schnell, Arthur Nordhoff Jr. and Karen Wallems.

Other people who made up the planning committee included Hilary Blessinger, Nancy Eckerle, Joe Fleck, Joseph Gogel, Barbara Mathies, Eileen Schaber, Rosemary Stewart, Mike Temple and Tom Thacker.

Committees formed were finance, membership, program, collections and budget. Additional people added to these committees were Jack Newton, Darren Patterson, Doris Hildenbrand, Debra Smith, Geriann Lueken, Michael Kluemper, Sally Boyles, Shane Flynn, Stanley Jochem, Joe Rohleder, Tom Schum and W. Jean Hoffman.

The historic Gramelspacher-Gutzweiler Building was chosen to house a temporary museum. Items relating to Dubois County history were soon requested and collected. A grand opening was held on Aug. 6 and 7, 1999. in conjunction with the Jasper Strassenfest. In 2003, Dubois County Museum Inc. was gifted the former Jasper Corporation building, a 145,000 square foot building, from Kimball International on 2704 North Newton Street in Jasper. This location became the new home of the museum in 2004.

In 2005, the museum was awarded the Certificate of Commendation for General Excellence by the American Association for State and Local History. In 2010, the museum was presented the Outstanding Historical Organization Award by the Indiana Historical Society. In 2013, museum board member and exhibit volunteer Cheryl Sermersheim received the Frank and Judy O’Bannon Heritage Enrichment Award from Historical Southern Indiana for creating Main Street Dubois County and the Little Pioneer Children’s Interactive Area at the museum, and in 2016 the German Immigration Exhibit was awarded a Legacy Award winner by the Indiana Bicentennial Committee.

The present location has 50,000 square feet of exhibit space, and the collection now has reached 42,000 pieces with more items added weekly. The DCM staff continues to consist entirely of volunteers. Memberships of individuals, couples, families and businesses number over 500. It continues to be a non-profit organization committed to the collection, preservation and interpretation of historical artifacts and information important to the citizens of the county. Museum operations are funded by annual memberships, admission fees, donations and gifts from visitors, area residents and businesses. Visit the museum to find out more about becoming a member, volunteering or adding an artifact to the collection.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. The museum is closed Mondays. For more information, call 634-7733 or visit The museum is also on Facebook and Twitter.

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