Letter from the Director

Highlighters. Index cards. Individually labeled file folders. These are just a few supplies that I find essential to any planning process. From the layout of an exhibit design to coordinating group tour schedules, multicolored organizational tools provide a dynamic visual reference. This approach was no different on Friday, April 20th when the Friends of the Harlan-Lincoln House Executive Committee met for a six hour operational planning meeting. Armed with decades of knowledge of the museum and its history, brainstorming worksheets, and yes many neon colored post-it notes, the group set out to craft a framework for the next three years of the Harlan-Lincoln House.

What resulted from this immense effort was Operational Plan 2018-2020. The twenty-four page document outlines the museum’s goals and objectives as well as how the Harlan-Lincoln House functions within the larger Iowa Wesleyan University Strategic Plan. The five goals of the Harlan-Lincoln House are: Increase Visibility, Awareness, and Understanding of the Harlan-Lincoln House at Iowa Wesleyan University; Strengthen and Grow the Friends of the Harlan-Lincoln House Annual Membership Benefits Program as well as Varied Resources for Financial Stability; Develop Impactful Experiences for Learners of All Ages; Enhance the Preservation of the Harlan-Lincoln House Itself and its Nationally Significant Artifact Collection; and Complete the Five Core Documents Essential to Museums as Defined by the American Alliance of Museums. Initial work toward many of these goals has already begun, including the creation of traveling informational banners and hosting the Harlan-Lincoln House Volunteer Fair on June 7th.

While it is a living document bound to be altered, Operational Plan 2018-2020 provides structure for the museum’s day to day work, creates accountability for the forward progression of tasks, and designates metrics for measuring the museum’s successes.

We are excited to enter this next phase and on behalf of the Friends of the Harlan-Lincoln House and Iowa Wesleyan University, I encourage you to continue engaging with the history and work of this nationally significant museum.

Anna Villareal
Director of the Harlan-Lincoln House

Upcoming Events

Docent Training Session
Saturday, July 21st, 2018
8:30 am to 12:30 pm

Volunteers are the foundation of the museum and key to realizing its mission. Docents provide tours of the Harlan-Lincoln House for daily visitors and groups. Individuals interested in volunteering as docents at the Harlan-Lincoln House are asked to complete one training session per year. After July, the next docent training session will be held on October 27th. Please contact Anna at hlhouse@iw.edu with questions or to sign up for the July session.

Tintypes & Teacups Lawn Party
Saturday, August 11th, 2018
1:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Come and enjoy the last of the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer with the Harlan-Lincoln House at Iowa Wesleyan University. During the Tintypes & Teacups Lawn Party tour the museum and its new exhibit Through the Lens: The Photography Studios of Harlan’s Mount Pleasant, attend a demonstration on the tintype photography process popular in the 1860s and 1870s, and relax on the lawn with games, tea, and refreshments. The museum will open at 10:00 am on August 11th for extended tour hours before the Tintypes and Teacups event.

Harlan-Lincoln House Extended Hours
Thursday, August 30th and Friday, August 31st, 2018
10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Add a tour of the Harlan-Lincoln House to your itinerary while celebrating the annual Midwest Old Threshers Reunion in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. The museum will open for extended tour hours on August 30th and 31st, welcoming visitors from both near and far to engage with the history of Senator James Harlan and Iowa Wesleyan University.

Quarterly Quandary

The Spring 2018 Quarterly Quandary focused on a small white door at the top of the main stairwell in the Harlan-Lincoln House. Unfortunately, much to the dismay of our younger visitors, this door did not represent a historic hide-and-seek location. Other frequent guesses included a laundry chute or dumbwaiter. The museum’s research has brought to light two main possibilities; a kneehole closet or a chimney access door. Kneehole closets allow the homeowner to maximize available storage, creating a crawl space between an interior and exterior wall of a home when an angled roofline is present. Historic photos also show that one of the Harlan-Lincoln House’s five original chimneys was located next to this stairwell. It is possible that the door functioned as an access point for chimney maintenance. Unfortunately, the back section of the Harlan’s home was dismantled in 1931, including the original space behind this small white door, there may never be a definitive answer as to its function. Within the collection of photographic prints of the Harlan-Lincoln House is a black and white snapshot from 1974. According to the accompanying documentation, the image depicts the second grade class of Mrs. Naomi Murphy from Lincoln Elementary School, who toured the museum on President Lincoln’s birthday that year. Did you tour the museum in elementary school? Can you identify any of the individuals photographed? Send your stories and information to Anna at hlhouse@iw.edu. Check back for more details on this great historic image in the Fall 2018 newsletter.

The mission of the Harlan-Lincoln House and its collection is to interpret the site to the public for its significance to the Harlan and Lincoln families, to reinforce the relationship to Iowa Wesleyan University, and to fulfill the home’s vital role in the living history of the University and the Mount Pleasant community.
Future mailings of the Harlan-Lincoln Newsletter will be primarily electronic. To ensure you receive an e-newlsetter, please email Anna at hlhouse@iw.edu with your preferred contact information.