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Putnam County Museum to toast Old DePauw on its 175th anniversary

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

(Photo)
A new exhibit focusing on DePauw University's 175th anniversary at the Putnam County Museum features a replica of The Boulder, a longtime campus landmark. Discussing the exhibit, which opens Feb. 16, are DePauw student Sam Spahn and Museum Director Tanis Monday.
The Putnam County Museum's upcoming exhibit, opening with a reception on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m., celebrates the 175th anniversary of the founding of DePauw University.

The exhibit includes a timeline of student life and campus changes over the course of the university's 175-year history.

It also features a replica of The Boulder, a longtime campus landmark; the university's first newspaper, artifacts from the original campus building (known as The Edifice, and later, West College), old senior cords, stories of legendary DePauw students and professors and much more.

"In many ways, it's a story about how DePauw and the community interact," notes Sam Spahn, a DePauw senior from McCordsville who spearheaded the exhibit's development.

"I think many people don't realize what a rich history DePauw has had -- from the early years with its strong church-related roots, through periods of student revolt against the administration, to the modern university it has become -- and how its history has shaped the university we know today."

Spahn used some of his research for the exhibit in his senior history thesis on the lifting of DePauw's ban on social dancing in the 1920s. Prior to that, the university's strong affiliation with the Methodist Church prohibited dancing and, officially at least, drinking on campus.

The exhibit ends with artist renderings showing future plans for DePauw's campus as articulated by President Brian Casey.

Spahn, along with the five other students who created the exhibit -- Carolyn Latta, Will Calderwood, Annie Wake, Leah Freestone and Luke Bretscher -- will be on hand at the opening reception to answer questions and share their insights.

The Putnam County Museum, located in the old Kroger building at 1105 N. Jackson St. Greencastle, is open Tuesday through Friday from 1-4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Its mission is to collect, preserve, and interpret the natural, historical and cultural heritage of the county and its people through education, exhibits and special programs.

The museum's permanent collection of more than 2,000 Putnam County-related artifacts offers visitors a historical overview of the county. Since its inception in 2000, the museum has grown in its role as the community's historic and cultural center thanks to dedicated citizens who have contributed their time, efforts, talents and resources to the museum.

For more information on the museum or the DePauw exhibit, persons may contact Tanis Monday at the Putnam County Museum, 653-8419, or tanis@putnamcountymuseum.org.



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