Volunteers Lois Mollick (left) and Kathy Heckman talk with a visitor near the Native American exhibit featuring mid-1700s Woodland Indian setting with a new mural by artist Theresa "Tess" Moore in the Alton Goin Museum at the Portage Community Historical Society in Portage, Ind. Friday April 12, 2013. The society is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
If you go
The Alton Goin Museum is open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Satudays and Sundays, and on Fridays by appointment. It’s located at 5250 U.S. 6, in Countryside Park, and is run by the Portage Community Historical Society.
For more information, go to www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~inpchs/park.htm or call 762-8349.
Updated: May 15, 2013 6:20AM
The Alton Goin Museum has spiffed up a bit for this year.
With some re-energized and expanded displays — done with the help of the museum’s volunteer crew, other helpers and assistance from students with New Vistas High School — the Portage museum recently opened for the season.
Kathy Heckman, who helps with genealogy and archives at the museum, put a call-out in the historical museum newsletter, asking for folks to adopt a display.
The results are apparent in the Native American exhibit by Theresa “Tess” Moore of Moore Creative Artistry; the steel mill exhibit; the Portage schools display; the fire and police departments exhibit; and an expanded military display.
A new display area, set up like a mayor’s office, also features the desk of the city’s first mayor, Art Olson, who served from 1968 to 1971.
“It was our 25th anniversary,” Heckman said of the Portage Community Historical Society, which oversees the museum and the events held on its grounds at Countryside Park. “We wanted to make something new and different.”
The museum opened in July 2003 and was named for Goin, who took a couple years off from, but recently got involved again in, the museum and the society for the society’s 25th anniversary.
A volunteer firefighter for the community in the 1950s and 1960s, Goin helped secure an old fire truck from Portage Township in the late 1990s. The community’s artifacts at the time were kept in the nearby Trager Farmhouse, but there wasn’t much space.
He worked with the city’s park board to get a larger building and, with the help of the community and local labor unions, the museum came together, named for the person who got it started. Goin said he was “shocked and honored” to have the museum named for him.
“I think we should promote the museum. It’s a great thing,” he said. “I believe we have something the community can consider well done and they should be proud of it because many hours went into it.”