Old Jail Museum Hosts New Vietnam War, Native American Displays
By Phoebe Muthart
The Old Jail Museum reopened Wednesday, March 1, after closing for the season and it has two new exciting displays, an updated website, a new logo and a new interactive kiosk.
The nonprofit Kosciusko County Historical Society was founded in 1966. The museum, run by the society, currently has a Vietnam War memorial display.
“One of our featured exhibits this season at the Old Jail Museum is a display honoring Vietnam era veterans. We have quite a few artifacts,” said Greg Steffe, the Old Jail Museum’s co-director. “Later this summer, we will have a program to highlight this.”
Steffe said a volunteer came up with the idea.
The Vietnam display will be available through the remainder of the year. “They were asked to serve their country. So they deserve to be honored,” said Steffe.
Steffe said there are dress uniforms from four of the military branches at the museum. A mannequin is dressed in combat gear, which the museum had to buy, as military members were not allowed to bring them home, said Steffe. The museum also has an honor roll listing some of the Vietnam veterans from the county.
The museum also has a display dedicated to Native Americans. “There were numerous reservations here in Kosciusko County,” said Steffe. These include the Miami and Potawatomi Indians.
In fact, Steffe said, his father and grandfather found Indian artifacts on their property near Atwood.
He said settlers and the Indians got along; however, some Native Americans, such as the Miami Indians, did not get along with other tribes.
The Indian artifacts will be on display until mid-December.
The genealogy discussion group will be visiting Hastings Village Tuesday, May 16. Hastings is located at the corner of CR 425W and CR 1050N, on the southwest corner of the junction of the Lee Beer Farm in Milford.
Beer has been relocating old buildings from the area to his property and restoring them to create a historical village. This small village is located across the road from the original Hastings General Store, which served as the local store, post office and meeting place for early settlers. Other buildings from the past include a schoolhouse, log cabin, hardware store, a little white church, a hunter’s cabin complete with animal skins and a barbershop, which also served as a dentist’s office.
Steffe said the museum is working on a membership drive. Since Jan. 1, membership has grown from 250 to 413.
“We are currently offering a special for $25 per family,” said Steffe. “This membership is good through the end of 2024.”
In addition, a membership comes with six Thaddeus magazines. There are also opportunities to volunteer or get a private tour of the museum. A lifetime membership is $450.
The museum also has a new interactive kiosk. This year, the kiosk features Native Americans.
The historical society is also participating in the last soldier project. They are doing one in every county in Indiana, Steffe said. On Saturday, June 10, a ceremony will be conducted at Oakwood Cemetery, Warsaw.
As for the website, kosciuskohistory.com, “We are trying to get that updated,” said Steffe.
The museum also has a genealogy room for those studying their family tree, said co-director Esther Eickhoff.
The museum’s hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
For more information about The Old Jail Museum or Kosciusko County Historical Society, visit kosciuskohistory.com or its Facebook page or call (574) 269-1078. The museum is located at 121 N. Indiana St., Warsaw.