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Winona History Center to Host ‘Small-Town Americana: Bringing Accessibility to the Billy and Helen Sunday Home’

Grace College’s Winona History Center will host ‘Small-Town Americana: Bringing Accessibility to the Billy and Helen Sunday Home’ on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. at the Winona History Center, 105 9th St., Winona Lake. The cost-free event is open to the public and will celebrate the launch of a new digitized program that allows visitors to interact virtually with the second floor of the Sunday Home. The project was funded by Indiana Humanities and Indiana Landmarks to preserve historic landmarks in Indiana.

The evening will include stories about the Sunday Home and a presentation of the digitalized program given by Grace College Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Dr. Mark Norris and Winona History Center Coordinator Karen Birt. Following the presentation, tours of the home and refreshments will be available.

“The new platform will allow visitors to click on artifacts in the home and interact with audio and video pertaining to the artifacts’ provenance. Much of the audio and text are from primary sources, including audio of Helen Sunday herself describing the items in the home,” said Birt.

The mission of the Winona History Center is to foster educational and scholarly interest in Winona’s heritage through the preservation and exhibition of historical collections and by inspiring a new generation to discover the treasures of American history. The Department of History and Political Science at Grace College has played an integral role at the Winona History Center to accomplish this mission. Grace students Isaac VanLoh and Austin Treen both had roles in the Sunday Home project.

VanLoh, a senior secondary social studies education major, helped edit copy and troubleshot technical issues that arose with the new program. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to help with the Winona History Center,” said VanLoh. “My experience at the Center has helped prepare me for my future career as a teacher,” he added.

Treen, a junior history major and pre-law minor, helped market the project on Grace’s campus. “I have learned a lot about the rich history of Winona Lake and have gained a deeper appreciation for local history and the importance of preserving it.  I’ve also learned much about Billy Sunday and the impact he had on the community here in northern Indiana and in the rest of the country,” reflected Treen.

For more information about the event, contact the Winona History Center Coordinator Karen Birt at birtks@grace.edu. To learn more about Indiana Humanities, go to indianahumanities.org. To learn more about Indiana Landmarks, visit www.indianalandmarks.org.

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