The Indiana Historical Society celebrates the Indiana bicentennial this weekend by honoring one of its most prevalent groups: those of German ancestry.
In partnership with the Indiana Chapter of Palatines to America, the historical society hosts German Heritage Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center.
German settlers were a part of Indiana since before it became a state, and German heritage makes up the highest percentage of national heritage among Hoosiers.
The morning session of German Heritage Day will focus on German immigrants to Indiana; the afternoon session will feature Indiana’s buildings and monuments with ties to German-American culture.
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Schedule of events:
•9 to 10 a.m.: Registration and social hour, with coffee and German pastries; view exhibits by a variety of German-American societies during registration period, during session breaks, at lunch or immediately following the program.
•10 to 11:45 a.m.: Lecture, “Germans in the New World of Indiana”
•11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Lunch
•1 to 2:30 p.m.: Lecture, “The Indiana Germans and the Building of Indiana”
•2:30 to 4 p.m.: Visitors can explore The Indiana Experience, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Current exhibits include “Destination Indiana,” “You Are There 1816: Indiana Joins the Nation” and “You Are There 1948: Communities Can!”
Local historian William L. Selm, a fifth generation German-American, will lead the sessions as speaker.
Selm is from Franklin and Rush counties. All of his ancestors emigrated from northern and southern Germany before the Civil War and settled in Franklin County as farmers, blacksmiths and one as a tailor and saloonkeeper.
Selm earned degrees in history and historic preservation, and served as the last historian for the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission from 1983 to 1992. He has authored numerous National Register nominations for buildings and districts in Central Indiana, including Oldenburg, Downtown Terre Haute and Lockerbie Square. He researched, wrote and presented the successful National Historic Landmark nomination of the Athenaeum (Das Deutsche Haus) and co-authored the NHL nomination of the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument.
Selm is the author of the 2008 Weg- weiser, a Self-guided Tour of German-American Sites in Indianapolis; the exhibit “Wegweiser: German Place Names in Indiana”; and numerous entries into the 1994 Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. He is a co-founder of the Indiana German Heritage Society and the Athenaeum Foundation.
Since 1988, he has been an adjunct faculty member of IUPUI, teaching western architectural history, furniture history and Indianapolis architectural history.
Registration costs $20. Price includes parking and admission to IHS’s Indiana Experience, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A $12 box lunch is available for purchase and includes choice of sandwich, kettle chips, pickle and drink. Participants are eligible for three library education units.
For more information on German Heritage Day and other IHS events, call 317-232-1882 or visit IHS online at indianahistory.org.