If you’re looking for an education in Warrick County history, there’s no better place to start than the old Ella Williams School. Located at 217 S. First St. in Boonville, Ind., part of this 1901 red brick structure became a museum in 1977, after the school closed in 1976.
Led by board president Connie Barnhill, the Warrick County Museum aims to collect, preserve, and promote the history of Warrick County.
“Ninety-nine percent of what we have has been given to us by citizens of the county,” says Colleen Talley, the secretary of the museum board and one of the museum’s kind volunteers. She takes visitors on free tours from 1 to 4 p.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday — and by appointment — leading them through rooms filled with displays and exhibits devoted to a variety of themes.
A room for politics, for instance, contains information about James A. Hemenway, the only U.S. senator from Warrick County, who served in the Senate from 1905 to 1909.
Another room about the family and home includes pictures of women whose recipes were featured in the 1950s in The Boonville Standard, a newspaper with offices just around the corner.
As you move upstairs, you’ll see an Honor Roll on the landing naming all the Warrick County men who served during World War II. The museum also displays clothing worn by members of the Red Cross who supported the war effort in its “War and Peace” room. This room focuses mostly on World War I and World War II and has items from each branch of the service, Talley says. One of the oldest items in the museum is a drum from the Civil War. It is part of a collection of musical instruments from that war, which also includes two fifes and a set of cymbals. There also is an original paymaster’s roll listing the men who served in the Union Army and the amount they earned for a month’s service, Talley says.
The “School Room” is set up like a one-room schoolhouse and includes items tied to literature, fossils, insects, and Native American artifacts. It’s a nod, Talley says, to the diverse number of subjects teachers at the time were expected to be knowledgeable about. The room also has information about high schools in the county that no longer exist.
Regardless of your interest, the Warrick County Museum is a treasure to behold.
“Your support through donations of items, donations of your time, and monetary donations either through membership or other forms helps the museum out tremendously,” the museum says on its website.
For more information on the Warrick County Museum, call 812-897-3100 or visit warrickcountymuseum.org.