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Dillinger museum moving to Crown Point

It will take about six months transfer John Dillinger Museum its collectiartifacts from Hammond newly constructed facilty historic Lake County

It will take about six months to transfer the John Dillinger Museum and its collection of artifacts from Hammond to a newly constructed facilty in the historic Lake County Courthouse in Crown Point. | Carrie Napoleon~for Sun-Tmes Media

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Updated: August 20, 2014 6:05AM



HAMMOND — The museum celebrating Indiana’s most notorious “Public Enemy No. 1” will relocate to the historic Lake County Courthouse on the downtown Crown Point square.

The South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority approved entering into an agreement Thursday with the Lake Court House Foundation that would move the John Dillinger Museum from the Indiana Welcome Center at Interstate 80-94 and Kennedy Avenue in Hammond to the historic Lake County Courthouse in downtown Crown Point.

“This has been a long time coming. It belongs in Crown Point,” Speros Batistatos, SSCVA president and CEO, said.

Plans call for having the new space ready to open by March 3, the 81st anniversary of Dillinger’s escape with a wooden gun from the Lake County Jail. The SSCVA has tapped Group Delphi of Fort Wayne to design the space and coordinate the move.

Group Delphi designed the original museum in 1997. It opened 15 years ago at the Indiana Welcome Center.

“We are going to need every day of the next six to eight months to get the gallery equipped,” Batistatos said.

The new museum space will be 2,000 square feet, the same as the existing space, and will be located on the northeast corner of the main level of the historic courthouse. The SSCVA will continue to own and insure the museum and the Lake Court House Foundation will provide staffing.

“We think it’s a perfect marriage,” Batistatos said. The Lake Court House Foundation approved the agreement Tuesday at its board meeting.

Batistatos said the SSCVA has budgeted $300,000 for the move that will require “comprehensive retooling of everything.” He said as part of the contract the museum is to be open seven days a week, though it may take a little time to get to that point.

Andrew Kyres, a SSCVA board member and Crown Point city councilman, said the tourism bureau has done a great job maintaining and promoting the museum. He said city officials are pleased to see the museum find a home in Crown Point in the historic courthouse.

“We’re elated,” Kyres said.



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