To possibly conduct research at the museum , Richter said call them first to see if they have what the person is looking for . Then it is easier if they set an appointment .
For example , Richter had a request written on a note sitting on her desk . There are multiple places they have available to check , such as their own county and city history books , photographs and slides .
Then they have vertical files , of clippings and artifacts . An artifact could be a large picture that ’ s framed that ’ s stored with framed items and not with small photographs .
The museum does charge a research fee only if the staff is doing all the work . Those coming in to do their own research are asked to pay the door fee and a copy cost . There still is a copy cost if taking a photo of something with a cell phone .
The museum is a non-profit and the fees help with operations .
Some of the oldest items in the museum go back to the founding of Danville in 1827 . Most items are
Vermilion County related .
If people are doing genealogical research and they want general background , they can go to the museum . However , the museum doesn ’ t keep as much on the individuals unless people have donated items to the museum .
The Illiana Genealogical and Historical Society has information on individuals .
Richter said one lady emailed her that she was doing history on her grandparents . Her grandfather would pick up old potbellied stoves that people would put on the curb that didn ’ t work anymore . He would take them , take them apart , recondition them and piece them back together and then re-sell them . The lady didn ’ t have a picture of that kind of stove , but knew the museum had one of those stoves .
Richter said sometimes someone will call and say they ’ re doing a family history and their dad worked at the old Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad at the shops . They are looking for photos of the shops .
Richter said they also always check the museum ’ s Heritage magazine
Vermilion County Museum Director Sue Richter talks about the vertical files and historical photos the museum has in its collection . Jennifer Bailey photo because there are times when people are mentioned .
“ A lot of times that is the only mention they have of somebody in their family ,” she said .
Church window , other donations
Sometimes a donation to the museum can end up turning out to be a larger gesture than first realized .
In August 2020 , a fire believed to have been caused by lightning destroyed the Walnut Corner Church of Christ in rural Bismarck .
A beautiful stained glass window with the words Walnut Corner was donated from the church to the museum months before the fire .
The window that was above the front door ended up being one of the only things that remained of the church , due to the fire .
The first church congregation formed in 1834 . The congregation initially met in the home of Mr . and Mrs . William O . Cunningham . It was 1850 when they decided to build a union house .
“ The settlement was where there was an existing grove of walnut trees ,” Richter said .
Walnut Corner Church of Christ later combined with the Christian church out of State Line , Ind ., Richter said .
“ They put the cornerstone for the new church in place in October 1903 ,” Richter said .
The Brown brothers of Bismarck , who owned the lumber and hardware store , were the contractors to build it . The cost was $ 4,000 for construction .
The new church building was dedicated on May 8 , 1904 . The first wedding occurred in December 1919 .
Don Dice of Bismarck was one of the last active members of the church .
Dice ’ s daughter , Christina ( Dice ) Trusner , also in 2014 put together a book , all in pictures , on the church .
There had been facelifts of the building through the years .
8 ILLIANA MAGAZINE | SPRING 2023