Elkhart museum is allowing residents to take home a free piece of history

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 6:21 PM EDT
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ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - The Elkhart County Historical Museum is getting rid of bound editions of their historic newspapers and giving them away to the public.

That’s because these resources are falling apart and won’t physically last much longer.

“Newspapers are made usually from very cheap paper that’s not designed to last. It’s your daily news and then you know, toss it out,” says Michelle Nash, the Curator of Collections at the Elkhart County Historical Museum.

However, instead of tossing them out, they’re inviting the public, on a first come, first serve basis, to collect them.

“There is something nice about the tactile experience of leafing through newspaper or maybe the convenience of having it in your own home. Or we thought even an altered book artist might want to do something with it, something creative,” Nash says.

The collection includes copies of the Elkhart Review and the Millersburg Grit. Two papers that haven’t been around for a long time.

Another reason these newspapers have to leave the museum’s library is because keeping them takes up a lot of space. Space that the museum wants to use for exhibit preparation and storage.

“These days of course, we have microfilming, we have digitizing, it takes up way less space, it’s a lot more stable, lasts longer,” Nash tells 16 News Now.

Preserving the contents for much longer than paper ever could.

“It also gives us an opportunity to kind of educate people about why we don’t collect newspapers anymore. A lot of museums don’t,” Nash says.

Residents that were at the museum collecting newspapers shared that they are just grateful to be able to take them home and experience the blast from the past.

“I’m looking for, actually a certain period of time when my grandmother’s grandfather was a physician in Elkhart and so he was actually in the paper kind of a lot during that period of time. So I’m hoping to find that,” says Elkhart resident, Demaree Noneman.

If you’re interested in getting your hands on some of these historical newspapers, visit the Elkhart County Historical Museum during their open hours, 9 a.m., to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. No appointment is required.

The last day to pick-up these newspapers is April 6th.

However, keep an eye out for announcements on the museum’s Facebook page, as they will be going through more newspapers, and doing another round of give aways.