Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum hosts a variety of interesting items tied to the Wawasee area’s past. Visitors might even want to dedicate several full-day visits to the museum in order to glean all of its lessons.
Located in the Syracuse Community Center, 1013 N. Long Drive, the museum displays thousands of artifacts and has an extensive digital library, including old photos, vintage postcards and other images and documents.
The museum’s permanent displays include:
- Mier Car, a “horseless carriage” designed in 1905 by Sheldon Harkless. The automobiles were produced for several years beginning in 1906, and the museum has one of the only two vehicles still existing from the original manufacturing run.
- Dolan Native American collection, featuring Native American tools. The collection is currently being catalogued, courtesy of an Eli Lilly Foundation grant.
- Military memorabilia dating back to the American Civil War.
- A wide variety of memorabilia from past businesses throughout the Syracuse-Wawasee area.
- A collection of music furniture, including an operable 1917 Victrola and Edison record player, disk music box and 1929 Atwater Kent Cabinet radio.
- Harkless family memorial case containing many photos and day-to-day items of the Harkless family.
- Barbara Bowser Zollinger memorial case. Zollinger, a 1950 Syracuse High School graduate, worked for two years as a baton twirler with the Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Each year the museum hosts visiting displays, with 2020 featuring the Wawasee Yacht Club. Museum Director Jamie Clemons is also in the midst of rearranging elements of the museum and making use of a new display case, and she also plans to have a new display in place for Indiana’s Archaeology Month in September.
While COVID-19 impacted operations and events early in the year, Clemons shared Youth History Club continues at 10 a.m. every Thursday until Aug. 6. Each club meeting has its own theme, with the remaining three sessions being: Native American and settler homes, July 23; pinch pots, July 30; and recycling milk jugs as planters, Aug. 6. Kids programs are made possible through a Dekko Foundation grant.
The museum also hosts Second Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a milk jug planter craft planned for Aug. 8 and an archaeology-themed event planned for Sept. 12.
Attend the last Centennial Homes Presentation of the summer at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 15 at the community center. It will be on Ogden Island.
For Archaeology Month, the museum is partnering with Chautauqua-Wawasee for a three-day program, Sept. 3-5. The museum will also host Chautauqua-Wawasee’s last session of the “From Amanda to Zerelda: Hoosier Suffragists Who Raised A Ruckus” program from 2-3:30 p.m. Sept. 5.