New museum director hopes to involve all ages in Culver history

The Center for Culver History’s new museum director thinks Culver is an amazing place with an amazing history, and she hopes to celebrate its history and people by way of her work there, through a variety of exhibits and activities.

Rachel Meade started at the museum in late August, joining acquisitions specialist Steve Metzger at the Center, located in the historic Carnegie portion of the Culver-Union Twp. Public Library at 107 N. Main Street. Meade is no stranger to Culver, though. She’s been coming since she was a baby to the house her family bought on the east shore some 35 years ago (prior to that, the Bramfeld family rented in town). Her mother attended Culver Girls Academy as did her aunts and cousins, and Meade herself spent many summers here. Most recently, those summers have been at Culver Academies summer camps, where she teaches in the ropes course program. She also works part-time for the library itself, in its children and youth area.

Culver, Meade says, “has always been pretty much my favorite place in the world. When I was little, I dreamed about living here...I never would have thought I’d have a job fitting my interests here in Culver. It’s such a unique community with its different elements.”
Meade studied both history and journalism in college, “so this is a good fit,” she says.

“I’m really excited about talking to community members and getting their stories.”

She also hopes to utilize the knowledge of local community members and would like to get younger people involved at the museum.

There are a number of projects in the works at the museum, Meade notes, but the small staff doesn’t have time to do them on their own. She’s hoping community volunteers of all ages will get involved. The Center, she adds, is also always happy to have loans or donations of local scrap books, photo albums, and artifacts. It’s hoped there will be free classes on family history and oral histories through the People’s University, come this spring.

“We hope to have more variety and changes in the museum,” adds Meade. “But that depends a bit on having extra hands and volunteers.”
Another project Meade is enthusiastic about is a brief video history of the area, currently in the works. Footage of the town and lake areas shot from the water will be interspersed with historic images to tell the story of life in the Culver-Lake Maxinkuckee area in the past, from the railroad to steamboats, to hotels, club houses, and more around the lake.

Every time a new visitor comes to the museum, Meade says, they seem surprised at what they learn about Culver’s rich history.
“There’s so much history still remaining that you can explore,” she points out. “We have the resources to do that here...if you have an interest in your home or business, we can help you figure that out. If people have histories they want to make sure are preserved for future generations, it’s great to have people coming in just to share those stories so we can have them on record.

“A local history museum isn’t history you’re removed from. It’s about the people who lived here -- it’s people’s stories. We need input from the people that live here now in order to explore that history.”
The Center for Culver History’s fall hours are: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from noon to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.