The staff and volunteers of the Westchester Township History Museum in Chesterton are working hard to make the area's history relevant and interesting for residents of all ages.
Free public programs and exhibits attract more than 4,000 visitors a year to the beautiful Queen Anne home.
Free guided tours are offered to every visitor and special school tours and programs are available for public, private, and home- schooled students. A free research service is also offered for those researching their families, the history of the homes, or other local history topics.
This spring the staff has created "Voices of the Brown Mansion," a special living history program and fundraiser with performances at 1 and 3 p.m. May 1. The production is set in the early afternoon of Oct. 15, 1889.
Visitors will tour the home in small groups and visit with four characters who each present a different perspective on the Brown Mansion and 19th century Chesterton. The characters include Charity Brown and George Brown, the original owners of the home; Arthur Bowser, founder of the Chesterton Tribune; and Hilda, the Brown's cook, a fictional character.
Following the performance, guests will be invited to the exhibit gallery for coffee, tea and light desserts provided by Tonya's Patisserie and Molly Bea's Ingredients.
During refreshments, guests can view the museum's permanent exhibit, tracing the history of Westchester Township and the saving of the Indiana Dunes. "People, Paintings and Pickles" is a current temporary exhibit, too.
Visitors can take a little history home with them by shopping the museum's store. Offerings include a great selection of books, posters, photographs, artwork, maps, stationery, jewelry and china, all related to the history of Westchester Township and the Indiana Dunes.
Funds raised at the event will be used to conserve four large vintage photographs of members of the Brown family, who built the home in 1885. Tickets are $15 at the museum and must be purchased before May 1.
The Westchester Township History Museum is an educational and cultural service of Westchester Public Library. The museum is open 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday at no cost. Groups of 10 or more are asked to call for reservations. For more information about museum events, ask to be placed on the museum's email list.