County museum’s ‘Stories’ project wins state accolades
By AMy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent August 15, 2014 3:22PM
Kevin Pazour, executive director of the Porter County Museum, stands in the Life in the Hour Glass exhibit room Friday, part of the museums Stories Project. Indiana Landmarks recently recognized the museum for the project with an award for excellence in historic preservation education. | Sun-Times Media
For more on the Porter County Museum, 153 S. Franklin St., Valparaiso, visit www.pocomuse.org or call (219) 465-3595.
Updated: September 17, 2014 6:08AM
VALPARAISO – Porter County Museum’s Stories Project, which started with stories from downtown Valparaiso and is now featuring Ogden Dunes, has received accolades from a state preservation organization.
The project received an award for excellence in historic preservation education from Indiana Landmarks, as part of the Northern Indiana Preservation Awards. The award also recognized the museum as a great steward of its home, the Porter County Sheriff’s House and Jail, and its plan to bring another historic Valparaiso building back to life with its expansion of the former 1878 Valparaiso Town Hall.
“We’ve seen just a different approach to a county museum,” said Tiffany Tolbert, director of the northwest field office for Indiana Landmarks, adding that includes not just the museum’s collection, but how it’s displayed.
The first Stories Project, dubbed Central Stories and focusing on downtown Valparaiso, included architectural history and walking tours, offering not just cultural and historic preservation, Tolbert said, but the stories that went along with them.
“We thought, this is really important what they’re doing. It’s really significant,” she said.
Kevin Pazour, the museum’s executive director, said the honor is “pretty cool” and is a nod to the Stories Project’s innovation.
“I think it’s innovative in a lot of ways because it allows us to go to different communities to pull history from people who are living it,” he said. “It’s a new concept, especially for a county museum, and it made the museum relevant for people who were barely aware we existed before the project.”
The Stories Project will continue, though Pazour doesn’t know which community will be next. The museum is considering south county, he added, because there are lot of great stories to tell there.
“There will definitely be a next Stories Project because this has become the heart of what we do,” he said.