SHS resumes popular history seminars | News

Starting Tuesday, the fortnight’s Club House, 421 N. Sixth St., will be transformed into a Vincennes history classroom.

A long-running popular course series, taught by local historian Richard Day, returns after taking a long pandemic hiatus.

The courses are divided into ten sessions which will take place on Tuesdays from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and end on April 12.

The history seminars were started several years ago by the late Rabb Emison, a prominent lawyer who used his retirement years to encourage residents to learn more about their city.

The classes, sponsored by Vincennes State Historic Sites and led by Day, will trace the history of Indiana’s first town from the prehistoric era through the 20th century and beyond.

Jon Mays, developer of the Vincennes SHS program, says even local history buffs will learn a lot of new information for them.

“Yeah, Mr. Day covers the French period, the fur trade, looks at the different Native American tribes that were in the area, the American Revolution — things that most people in town know about,” Mays said. “But, it provides more details and stories than most people would have already known.”

In years past, seminars moved chronologically, covering topics such as the French colonial period at Vincennes; Fort Sackville and George Rogers Clark; the Northwest Territories and Indiana; and from the beginning of the 20th century to the Second World War.

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In 2017, Day focused heavily on the African-American experience in Vincennes, and the following year moved on to World War I as well as Knox County immigration stories. Mays says it’s these unique stories discovered by Day, and the opportunity for the community to reconnect with the area’s history, that bring people back to seminaries year after year.

“Mr. Day brings his own mix of humor, stories and insights that make every lesson a fun and memorable experience.

“It’s always surprising how many people come back and take that same class again — it’s not just about learning a bunch of facts and details. It’s about stories and little details that the books overlook,” he said.

Each class will also include a slideshow presentation of drawings, documents, maps and images to help people visualize what this historic community looked like at different times. Several courses will also feature guest speakers.

“Class makes you proud to be from Vincennes and Knox County,” added Mays.

The fee for the seminars is $75 per person, with a 25% discount for Indiana State Museum members, and registration will remain open until the first class on Tuesday.

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