New museum exhibit details local settlement

Image providedAn early plat drawing done by Havilah Beardsley shows the beginning of the city of Elkhart. This map will be featured in the new exhibit, Crossroads of Elkhart County: Claiming the Land, opening on Friday at the Elkhart County Historical Museum.

BRISTOL — The Elkhart County Historical Museum will open its newest exhibit, “Crossroads of Elkhart County: Claiming the Land,” with a special event from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. There is no admission to attend, and light refreshments will be offered, organizers said. 

“Crossroads” chronicles the period of history starting with the arrival of the French to the Great Lakes region and concludes with the year 1850. This period of history sees Native groups, the Miami and Potawatomi, encountering European and American cultures and the changes that take place as these groups claim, manage, steal, fight and control the area geographically, politically and culturally.

During the period covered in the exhibit, this area was known as Myaamionki, Bodéwadmi ke, New France, British Colony, Northwest Territory, Indiana and Elkhart County.

“I think one of the strengths of this exhibit is we are highlighting the stories of people that lived during this time,” said Curator of Education Patrick McGuire. “From seeing quotes from a French missionary, British military leaders, an early Amish migrant, and prominent Native leaders like Obwandiyag (Pontiac) and Mshikenikwe (Little Turtle), we feel this exhibit brings major historical events and their consequences down to a personal level.”

Other than the quotations, visitors will be able to explore the history of this area through the sections of the exhibit and find out how each cultural group interacted with other groups occupying this area and how these relationships manifested themselves through trading, warfare, political negotiations and other forms.

The Elkhart County Historical Museum is at 304 W. Vistula St., Bristol.

More information, including a schedule of upcoming events, and directions to Elkhart County Historical Museum, can be found at or by calling our administration office at 574-535-6458.

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