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Thank you so much for visiting the event page for "A Night at the Museum". The event has officially SOLD OUT! Thanks to all who continue to support the History Center.

For details about the cast of characters and historical figures from the event, please scroll down!

A Night at the Museum

The Vigo County History Center is pleased to announce its new signature fundraiser and 100th Year Anniversary Celebration of the Vigo County Historical Society, “A Night at the Museum” scheduled for October 22, 2022. 

 

With the popular 2006 movie starring Ben Stiller in mind, the History Center will showcase its unique exhibits and local history, with many “coming to life” over the course of the evening. 

Executive Director Marla Flowers and History Center Curator Suzy Quick are tight-lipped about exactly what exhibits will “come to life” during the evening, but say it will be unlike any other event in the community. 

 

Interactive exhibits will be spread across the History Center’s three floors, along with catering by Chef Kris Kraut at Federal Coffee + Fine Foods and cash bar by The Copper Bar. A program and map will lead visitors throughout the museum to experience local history in a one-of-a-kind atmosphere. 

 

 

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FIRST FLOOR
 

Teddy Roosevelt - Chris Pfaff
Theodore Roosevelt Jr., often referred to as Teddy or by his initials, T. R., was an American politician, statesman, soldier, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909. He visited Terre Haute many times. Most famously his first visit was in 1893 during a post office scandal. He was the U.S Civil Service Commissioner at the time.

Night Watchman- Matthew Higgins
Although by day, Matthew Higgins may appear to be a regular guy. He teaches history at a local high school. He enjoys drumming, guitar, and mastering the perfect Jambalaya . Perhaps it was his love for history that led to his position at the Vigo County History Center. Once the lights go out, Matthew takes up his trusted flashlight and takes on his duty as the night watchman. Patrolling the dark corridors of the historic, three story, museum, he guards against any unwelcome intruders while doing his best to keep history from escaping.

Max Ehrmann- Fred Nation
Max Ehrmann was an American writer, poet, and attorney from Terre Haute, Indiana, widely known for his 1927 prose poem "Desiderata". His family owned the Ehrmann Manufacturing Company (now the home of the Vigo County History Center) Max worked in this building as a lawyer for his family business. His bust is displayed on the 3 rd floor. There is also a statue of Max sitting on a bench at the corner of 7 th and Wabash.

Chauffeur- Jacob Spencer
The development of the National Road made it possible for more automobiles to travel from place to place. Since, in the beginning of this era only the wealthy could actually afford the first batch of automobiles, not many people know how to drive them. Therefore, they hired a chauffeur to properly operate the machinery and maintenance them.

Davis Garden’s Greenhouse Picker- Jeri Doty
Davis Gardens was an entirely indoor food-producing greenhouse on Terre Haute’s south side. The company was spread over 35 acres and was the world's largest vegetable-producing greenhouse. It operated from 1914 – 1974.

Valeska Surratt- Karen Crispin
Valeska Surratt was a vampy American stage and silent film actress. Over the course of her career, Suratt appeared in 11 silent films, all of which are now lost, mainly due to the 1937 Fox vault fire. 

Meis Window Models on Main Street- EMMA ROBERTS, SARA QUICK, BRYLYNN ELLIS, CRAIG RICE- LUNN, MARIE HENDRY, TAMMY LUNDBORG & BARB POTTER
Meis brothers opened its doors on Wabash Avenue in 1924. The trendy department store brought in flocks of visitors to downtown Terre Haute during its heyday. Widely known for their famous window displays, Meis was the last of the large downtown department stores to close in 1974.

Ellen Church- Joan Kutlu
Ellen Church Marshall (September 22, 1904 – August 22, 1965)
On May 15, 1930, Ellen Church became the first airline stewardess to fly on a Boeing Air Transport. Born in Cresco, Iowa, Ellen Church became a registered nurse as well as a licensed pilot. After a car accident forced her to end her flying career, she moved to Terre Haute, where she was director of nursing and later became the administrator of Union Hospital in 1952. In 1964, she married Leonard Briggs Marshall, president of the Terre Haute First National Bank. She died in a horse riding accident on August 27, 1965.

Riverboat Captain- Brendan Kearns
In the mid to late 1800’s as flatboats were slowly being replaced by the much faster invention of the steamboat, Riverboat Captains were entrusted to navigate the busy waters of the Wabash River. The Captain was responsible for the safety of passengers and cargo as well as navigating the vessel.

SECOND FLOOR


Paul Dresser- Jon Ford
Paul Dresser was an American singer, songwriter, and comedic actor of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Born in 1857 Terre Haute, Paul moved away when he was 15 to become a traveling performer. Paul wrote “On the Banks of the Wabash Far Away” in 1897 and it was adopted as the Indiana State Song in 1913.

Francis Vigo- Doug Lund
Francis Vigo (VEE-Go) was an Italian-American who helped the American colonial forces during the Revolutionary War and found a public university in Vincennes, Indiana. Born in Mondovì, Italy, he served with the Spanish Army in New Orleans. Francis Vigo visited Terre Haute when he was 85 years old. Because of the royal welcome he received, he pledged $500 in his will to Vigo County for a courthouse bell.

Virginia Jenckes- Ann Venable
Virginia Jenckes served three terms as a U.S. Representative from Indiana's Sixth Congressional District. The Terre Haute, Indiana, native was the first woman from Indiana to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She was from Terre Haute.

Ida Husted Harper- Peggy Apgar
Ida Husted Harper was an American author, journalist, columnist, and suffragist as well as the author of a three-volume biography of suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony at Anthony's request. She wrote articles for Terre Haute and Indianapolis newspapers under the pseudonym of "Mrs. John Smith." Her husband was an associate of Eugene V. Debs.

Scatman Crothers- Lester McGee
Benjamin Sherman Crothers, known professionally as Scatman Crothers, was an American actor and musician. He is known for playing Louie the Garbage Man on the TV show Chico and the Man, and Dick Halloran in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. Scatman got his start working in Terre Haute speakeasies and even some brothels until he was able to leave the area to further his career in entertainment.

European Immigrant Settler- Sherri Wright
The majority of today’s population in and around Vigo County is here because their ancestors immigrated to America sometime in the last several hundred years. The arrival of European immigrants introduced great ethnic diversity through the Wabash Valley as immigrants came in waves. European immigrants who came mainly from Northern and Central Europe between 1820 and 1890. Most came in family groups and were highly skilled. They came seeking settlement and escape from the poverty and food scarcity due to droughts.

 

Anna White- Herself
Anna White was born on July 6 , 1950. Along with being a locally known musician and co-creator of the band “The Zantrels”, she was also the first woman pilot for Britt Airlines.

John Heinl- Brad Venable 
John Heinl was born September 7 , 1844, in a town called Eger (now Cheb) about a hundred miles west of Prague. After first settling in Toledo, Ohio, Heinl moved to Wabash Valley where he began running a greenhouse at 15th & Washington Ave with his brother Lawrence. He was an active philanthropist and board member across the Wabash Valley. Heinl married Eugene V. Debs’ sister, Marie (Mary) in 1870 and was soon to be known as “Stiffy Green’s master”.

 

William Henry Harrison- Jim Jenkins
William Henry Harrison was born in 1773, the ninth President of the United States (1841), and an American military officer and politician. Fort Harrison was constructed in 1811 to protect Vincennes, which was named after General Harrison.

Eugene V. Debs- Michael Tingley
Eugene V. Debs was born November 5, 1855, in Terre Haute, IN. He was a passionate labor leader, a progressive political figure, and a formidable speaker. He helped lead the way for workers to gain power within the workplace by helping establish the Socialist Party, along with running for President five different times.

Willa Brown- Crystal Reynolds
Willa Beatrice Brown was the first African American woman to receive a private and commercial pilot’s license in the United States. Also, she was the first African American woman to run for Congress and the first woman on the women’s Advisory Committee of the Federal Aviation Administration. She attended Indiana State Normal School and received her teaching license, which led her to become a mentor to many including Tuskegee Airmen.

Julia Lambert- Susan Tingley
Julia Lafferty Lambert was the wife of Isaac Lambert and sister of James Lafferty. Julia was among the first settlers in Terre Haute. She and her family built their home under the protection of Fort Harrison. She helped to settle her husband’s estate in 1829 and 1830. On September 4  the fort was attacked and set fire. Julia, bravely lowered herself into the well to help fill buckets of water to extinguish the flames.

Bruce Rosselli- Himself
In Rosselli’s 17-year bobsledding career he competed in Olympic trials as well as the World Championships Teams. Even at a young age, Bruce Rosselli had his sights set on the Olympics. He started his athletic journey with baseball, then the decathlon, eventually he ventured into bobsledding. Bruce competed in five Olympic Trials: ’88, ’92, ’94, ’98, ’02. He was selected by his peers as the Athletes Rep to the U.S. Olympic Committee.

STIFFY GREEN- “ZEUS” WITH OWNER T.C. CLARY
Visitors beware! This museum is the home of a literal “Spirit Animal”. Stiffy Green Eyes is the legendary bulldog that stood guard at his master’s tomb at Highland Lawn Cemetery for over six decades. Now a permanent resident of the Vigo County History Center, Stiffy challenges visitors young and old to peer inside the replica Heinl mausoleum on the museum’s 2 nd floor. If you’re brave enough to take a peek, shine a light in the door of the mausoleum and see for yourself. Stiffy’s cold green eyes might glow back at you as he growls into the night.

 

THIRD FLOOR

Madame Brown- Mallory Kraly
Edith Mae Brown was born May 10, 1874, on a farm just outside of Paris. Although the farm life is what she grew up knowing it is not what she wanted to do with her life. In 1891, at the age of 17, Edith Brown left her family’s farm and settled in Terre Haute. There she worked as a domestic maid and later opened her own brothel business. Her establishment quickly became known as one of the finest bordellos not only in the United States but worldwide.

Eddie Gosnell- Jake Lloyd
Rumrunner and kingpin of Terre Haute’s West Side (the red-light district) Eddie was born in 1876. He opened the Rod & Gun Club in 1921 and also owned and operated the 12-Points Hotel. Eddie was married to Terre Haute’s infamous Madame Brown.

Edward H. Bindley- Allen Shotwell
Edward H. Bindley, founder of the Bindley & Sons Pharmaceutical Wholesaler, Terre Haute, Indiana. The Bindley Pharmacy was a late 1800s compounding pharmacy located at 121 N. 5th Street. It was founded in 1865.

A Night at the Museum 
Cast List and
Historical Figure Information