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EHS Senior Pens Essay About Her Museum Experience

A volunteer with the Edwardsburg Area Historical Museum since January, 2019, Marie Gruver is a member of the Edwardsburg High School Class of 2020. The essay below is being submitted by Marie as part of her college applications. It originally was penned to qualify for the high schools chapter of the National Honor Society and the museum thanks her and her family for generously allowing it to be published on our website.

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

250-650 (words)

I have always loved history. However, I never could have imagined how much this love could affect myself, my community, or even my heritage. Over the past year I have volunteered at my local historical society in my hometown of Edwardsburg, Michigan. In the short time that I’ve volunteered, I have learned so much about the history of my town as well as myself.

To qualify for my school’s chapter of the National Honor Society, I needed to find a community service opportunity. At first, I wanted to help at the animal shelter like many of my friends. However, my mom suggested I try our local museum since I loved history. After volunteering my required hours, I knew I couldn’t just stop there. Ever since then, I still come in to help out almost every other week. Using my love for history and the opportunity to give back to the community was definitely a “win-win” for me.

While donating my time at the museum, I was able to find a place in my community. The museum is currently run by longtime residents of Edwardsburg who didn’t feel comfortable using modern technology. I was able to help them transfer all of their paper obituaries onto an electronic database and catalog their entire library and collection.

Whenever I went to the museum it was a time for me to learn more about my hometown of Edwardsburg. I’m first-generation Edwardsburg resident on either of my parents’ sides. Many of the people I know in Edwardsburg have had family who’s lived in the area for generations; or at least one of their parents attended the high school. Unlike them, I never felt as attached to Edwardsburg. As the ladies at the museum shared stories and family heirlooms, they and the people in their stories became my family. While I learned about my town’s heritage, it became my own. The people in the stories I heard, extended me a branch into their shared heritage. Their stories soon became mine and it became something I have cherished ever since.

Just because the people in Edwardsburg aren’t exactly related to me, it doesn’t mean we don’t share the same heritage. I have come to the realization that it isn’t necessary have blood relatives in a place to be able to call it your home. My family wasn’t originally from here, but we have been adopted into Edwardsburg by the most simplest of terms: friendship. And I’ve since realized that someone doesn’t need to be your blood-relative to be your family. Family is what you make it, and for me, the people of Edwardsburg are my family.

#1: 50-150

The one activity that I could keep doing for the rest of my life is music. Both of my parents are music teachers which has allowed me to be surrounded by it my entire life. When I had the opportunity to join my school’s band program, it was an obvious decision for me to do so. Since the beginning, I have made some of the best memories and friends in my life. In college I want to continue my passion for music and to join whatever marching band program it may offer. I believe that when you find “that thing” you love, it’s important to never let it go. And for me, “that thing” is music.

#2: 100-300

A community that I belong to is my high school’s marching band. Joining the band was honestly one of the best decisions I have ever made. As the section leader of the drumline I have had a great opportunity to set an example for the underclassmen in the band below me. I have also been privileged to assist in teaching the first-year band members and to encourage them to find their talents and passions. As the band grows and participates in competitions, watching the unity of our community brings me great pride. Personally I no longer believe that we are just a community, in fact, we’re a family.

#3: 100-550

The University of Michigan is my first choice in furthering my education. Many of the unique qualities that attract me to the University’s LSA college is its prestigious and rigorous Classical History program; it is one of the best. I also desire to attend a university that will challenge me. Michigan’s coursework is rigorous and thorough, which is just what I need to get the most out of my education as a Classics major. As a high achieving student, I am looking for a university that will challenge me. I know I will be pushed to achieve at the University of Michigan.

There are many aspects of Michigan’s facilities that drew me to the university. Its massive papyri collection, multiple libraries and Kelsey Museum are extremely intriguing and exciting for me as a prospective student. I look forward to being part of a program that will allow me to study abroad as well as being able to take advantage of the many internship programs that it might offer. Having met with a Michigan graduate and hearing his raving reviews of how supportive and knowledgeable the professors are, only makes me more excited to attend the university in the fall.

Surplus Yearbooks for Sale

The Edwardsburg Area Historical Museum has many Edwardsburg High School yearbooks, new and used, for sale. These are surplus books and they will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis for $20 each. These books can be purchased during museum hours, from 1 to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. The museum will close December 14 for the season and will re-open in May but purchases may be made by appointment after December 14 by calling the museum at 269-663-3005.

The list and number of books available by decades is as follows:

1947 (1); 1948 (2); 1949 (3);

1951 (3); 1952 (6); 1953 (2); 1954 (5); 1955 (3); 1956 (4); 1957 (2); 1958 (3); 1959 (3);

1960 (3); 1961 (1);

1970 (3); 1979 (1);

1980 (11); 1981 (1); 1982 (27); 1987 (4);

1990 (12); 1991 (3); 1992 (2); 1995 (1); 1996 (10); 1997 (19); 1998 (14); 1999 (6);

2000 (1); 2003 (1); 2005 (2); 2006-2007 (1).

Museum is All Dolled Up!!

EDWARDSBURG—Antique dolls, Cabbage Patch dolls, a Raggedy Ann doll,  dolls with porcelain faces, and miniatures with glass faces. All of these—at least 30—are on display as Edwardsburg Area Historical Museum presents its last display of the 2019 season, “All Dolled Up for Christmas.”

The display opened Wed., Nov. 6, and runs through Dec. 14 when the museum closes until spring.

It was mounted by Museum Director Sally Dalrymple and museum members Judy Montgomery and Laura Jamrog.

The dolls are being loaned by many residents of the Edwardsburg area and six are dressed in outfits sewn by Montgomery. Two of the six are in nightgowns with three others in dresses and the final one in a green coat and hat with white fur.

Many of the dolls are old and at least three are collectibles made in Germany.  Most are displayed in the museum’s middle room, which is often called ‘the old house’ because it is a main part of the original structure. Others are featured in the school room, which also includes exhibits focused on growing up in Edwardsburg.

The museum’s main gallery is highlighted by a 10-foot Christmas tree that was first displayed in 2018. It is decorated with the museum’s collection of red and gold ornaments. . A new four-foot tree also is being shown off in the museum’s main picture window, adorned with ribbons and vintage ornaments.

The museum is open from 1 to 4 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Saturdays.

Sindelar Presents on Sept. 19

EDWARDSBURG–Tools, tools, and more tools. John Sindelar of Edwardsburg, whose former tool museum on Section Street showcased thousands from his collection, will speak at the Edwardsburg Area Historical Museum this month.

John Sindelar

Sindelar, whose collection features items dating to 150,000 BC, and is comprised of items from 20 to 30 countries, will speak at 7 p.m.,Thurs, Sept. 19. He estimates his collection at 10,000 pieces and was acquired from private collectors, shops and museums over several decades. He has been featured in several national magazines and owns Sindelar Fine Woodworking in Granger, Indiana.

In addition to a video presentation, he will park his Sindelar Traveling Tool Museum in the museum’s side yard for public exploration.

The program is free of charge and is offered in connection with the museum’s current display, A Tool for Every Job, which is exhibited until Nov. 1.

 The museum is located at 26818 Main St. in Edwardsburg.

Display: A Tool for Every Job

EDWARDSBURG–A brace and bit, hog butchering stretchers, a rail leveler, horse, anchor, an ice cutting saw, and pant stretchers are just a sampling of countless items on display through Nov. 1 at the Edwardsburg Area Museum.

The second exhibit of the season is “A Tool for Every Job,” and the museum has gathered many items from its inventory and added several on loan from area residents to create an unusual array of tool memorabilia.

Among the most significant is an ice saw, or ice plow, that has been stored in the basement of the original museum house for many years. A heavy piece, it was long used to cut ice on area lakes, and took two people to move it into place in the main gallery. Persons visiting the museum during this display will be offered a printed list of items that they will be invited to identify. Those who excel at identification will be offered small ‘prizes.’

John Sindelar of Edwardsburg will be the guest speaker in September. His presentation will be at 7 p.m., Thurs., Sept. 19. Sindelar, who grew up in Berrien Springs and opened his first show in Eau Claire, has collected tools from 20 to 30 countries, and estimates his collection at 10,000 pieces. He has been featured in several national magazines and owns Sindelar Fine Woodworking in Granger, Indiana. In addition to a video presentation, he will park his Sindelar Traveling Tool Museum museum’s side yard for public exploration.

 His presentation is open to the public and there is no admission charge.

Silverman to Speak Aug. 15

EDWARDSBURG–Ann Sakaguchi Silverman, Edwardsburg High School’s retired home economics teacher, will speak about women’s tools for the Edwardsburg Area Museum’s August program. Her topic coincides with the next display on Tools Around the House.

Her presentation will be at 7 p.m., Thurs., Aug. 15, the day the exhibit opens. There is no admission charge.

Silverman had a 36-year teaching career, the last 28 of which were in Edwardsburg. She received her Bachelor of Science from Manchester College, and two master’s degrees, one in general education and the other in family studies, both from Purdue University. She taught home economics and biology at the high school level in Warsaw and Brown County, Indiana, and home economics at John Adams High School in South Bend, and in Edwardsburg.

The tools display will feature a vintage collection of tools from the museum’s inventory and several items on loan from area residents.

Call to Garage Sale Renters

The museum again will rent spaces for the U.S. 12 Garage Sale in August. Prices are $25 for three days, Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 8, 9, and 10; $20 for two days, and $15 for one day. Interested persons can contact Jan Litty, 269-699-5518 with questions. Renters must provide a copy of their homeowner’s, renter’s, or business insurance policy to secure a space. Rental forms are available at the museum.

Smothermon to Speak July 18

EDWARDSBURG–Roy Smothermon, the administrator of the Edwardsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, will address the state of current businesses in the Edwardsburg area at the Edwardsburg Area Historical Museum at 7 p.m., Thurs., July 18.

A native of Hooker, Okla., Smothermon graduated from Panhandle State University, Goodwill, Okla., with a Bachelor of Science in Education. He retired in 2008 as the manager of customer service for Tri-County Electric, a cooperative in Hooker, where he was employed for 30 years.

There is no admission charge.

Calling All Old Doll Owners

“All Dolled Up” will be the theme of the Christmas display at the museum and it opens on November 6. Judy Montgomery is in charge of this display and is looking for old dolls that people would be willing to lend, and old ornaments they are interested in donating to the museum’s collection. If anyone has any items to loan or donate, just call Judy at home, 269-663-8208. She asks that items be submitted for consideration by October 1st.

Haikin to Speak on June 8th

EDWARDSBURG–Author Tom Haikin, whose 18 books include The Edwardsburg Mysteries and The Edwards Family of Edwardsburg, will speak about his work at the Edwardsburg Area Historical Museum at 7 p.m., Thurs., June 20.

Haikin, who moved with his family to Edwardsburg from Virginia in October, 2017, has spent extensive time researching, documenting, and writing about the history of the community and its naming. His research has connected the Edwards family with several famous names in Michigan, including Henry Schoolcraft and Lewis Cass. He became interested in Edwardsburg’s founding when he discovered that its namesakes had moved away.

Haikin was born in Los Angeles, California, but has lived in many places. He graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, with a bachelor’s degree in political science with public administration concentration, and earned a Master of Business Administration with emphasis in strategic planning from Regis University in Denver. His career has included positions in both the U.S. government and in private business, most recently as a senior contracts manager in Nevada.  He has been involved in programs like “Star Wars” at its inception; the conversion of Boeing 707 aircraft into aerial refueling tankers, and the negotiation of a contract for purchase of support aircraft required by the United States Air Force.

His presentation is the first of the 2019 museum season. There is no admission charge.

In Remembrance

Marj Federowski

Marjorie Federowski, 90, one of the Edwardsburg Area Museum’s founding members, and a premier leader and volunteer in Cass County, died Feb. 27.

Federowski’s knowledge of Edwardsburg history came naturally through her genealogical connections to Edwardsburg pioneers Abiel Silver and Cyrus Bacon. Her mother, Lula C. Bacon Silver, was married first to Guernsey Bacon, direct descendent of Cyrus Bacon, with whom she had three children, Thelma, Carrie, and Albert Bacon. After the elder Bacon died, she married Benjamin Silver, a direct descendent of Abiel Silver, an Edwardsburg merchant who platted the Silver addition in the Village of Edwardsburg. Marj (as she was commonly called) and her sister, Frances, were born of that union.

Marj grew up in Edwardsburg and was a life member of the historic Edwardsburg Presbyterian Church where she served as an elder and treasurer. Throughout her life, she readily shared her knowledge of early Edwardsburg social, cultural and religious life, including facts about the traveling ministers who served the early community, and the homes and locations in which church meetings were held. Although she lived near Cassopolis for many years with her husband, Alex, who died in 2012, she maintained close contacts with her hometown and with the museum, of which she was an avid supporter.  In 2007-2008, she was an Edwardsburg Public Schools Hall of Fame inaugural inductee and, in 2012, she was named the museum’s recipient of the John B. Sweetland Award for her inspirational leadership and community contributions.

She was the valedictorian of the Edwardsburg High School class of 1947. As a teenager, she also ran a nursery school part-time.  A family friend, Ada Beardsley, whose husband, Charles, was president of Miles Corporation, was impressed with her work and the couple paid most of Marj’s way through Western Michigan University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in library science and English (and also a master’s degree). She became Cass County’s librarian at the age of 24, and was a driving force behind the effort to create a district library when library funding was cut by the Cass County Board of Commissioners. A founding member of Friends of the Library, she shepherded the construction of a new library building and ensured the library’s funding in perpetuity (1993) by leading the effort to see a millage vote passed. She also was a motivator behind the construction of the current Edwardsburg Library in 1995.

Federowski played an integral part in the establishment of the Cass County Council on Aging’s $2 million facility as the committee co-chair to raise funds to build the Edward R. Lowe Center. A volunteer at the COA, she served its board of directors as both a vice president and president.

Although she never appeared in one of its productions, Federowski was a founding member of the Barn Swallow Theatre. She was the longtime secretary of the Cass County Historical Commission, and, as a two-term member of the Cass County Board of Commissioners, she updated the budget process.

Over the years, Federowski served in key positions on numerous county and regional boards and agencies, and received many individual achievement and leadership awards. In 1999, upon a nomination by the Council on Aging, she was named Michigan’s Senior Citizen of the Year.

Plant Sale Opens May 17th

The museum’s annual perennial plant sale opens Friday, May 17th and runs through Saturday, June 8th. The sale includes a wide variety of perennial plants, plus many cemetery and patio pots. It also features hanging baskets donated by local nurseries and others grown by museum volunteers. Several community residents contribute to the plant sale. Prices range from $1 to $30, depending on plants or pots and all are marked. This is the museum’s 18th year for the sale, which has been widely attended by community residents. Proceeds go to benefit museum programs and events.