Jim Pickett, Executive Director of the Sheridan Historical Society’s Museum on Main Street in Sheridan, sits surrounded by binders full of community obituaries. 
Photo Courtesy Sheridan Historical Society
Jim Pickett, Executive Director of the Sheridan Historical Society’s Museum on Main Street in Sheridan, sits surrounded by binders full of community obituaries. Photo Courtesy Sheridan Historical Society

Did you know Sheridan has a museum on Main Street? It is not real big and it is not manned by highly paid professionals, but it competently tells the story of who we are and where we came from here in Sheridan.

The Executive Director of the museum is Sheridan’s own Jim Pickett. He is skillfully assisted in his work by all the members of the Sheridan Historical Society, but most especially by Stuart Neal and his sister Mary, and Winona Moss. These four people man the museum when it is open to the public on Tuesday and Friday afternoons from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. They will answer your questions, give you lots of information about the hundreds of items on display and they will entertain you with humorous observations about our community.

If you are into Sheridan genealogy, you need go no further than Mr. Pickett. Jim sits at his desk surrounded by literally thousands of obituaries of Sheridan community folks. Being life-long residents of Sheridan, Jim and his helpers probably personally know any family you are interested in researching and can be very helpful if you are not sure of particular individuals within a family. Generally speaking, if you just know the last name, Jim and the others will take it from there and be able to provide you with a whole host of other family members, where they lived, who their children were or still are, who they married, where they worked, and best of all, they can probably provide you with interesting tales related to the family. This is one of the advantages of being from a small community like Sheridan.

In addition to doing genealogy research, Jim and the museum crew can entertain you with great community stories, often backed up by the thousands of pieces of memorabilia and old pictures located in the museum. They have a collection of Sheridan school yearbooks going back over a hundred years and they have all the graduating class composite photographs saved from the old Adams building.

The museum is run under the auspices of the Sheridan Historical Society for the benefit of all those who value our cultural heritage. One of the Society’s highlights is the restored Boxley Cabin in Veterans Park. George Boxley founded our community in 1830 when he settled here to escape a death sentence in Virginia for trying to incite a slave rebellion a few years earlier. While speculation persists, there is no actual evidence that Boxley was involved in the underground railroad which existed in nearby Westfield. At the present time, volunteers are needed to act as docents at the Boxley Cabin during the summer months so if you want to contribute to our community in an easy and meaningful way, let us hear from you.

Another venture of the Society is the annual 4th graders visit each fall. With the able assistance of retired 4th grade teacher and Society president Ron Stone, the Sheridan 4th graders are given a special field trip around the community as part of their Indiana history studies. The kids visit the museum for a talk with Jim and his staff; they walk over to the post office for a tour; they walk to the library where director and Society vice president Steve Martin gives them a tour and talk about Andrew Carnegie; and then they end up at Veterans Park for a visit to the restored Boxley Cabin.

The Sheridan Historical Society is an integral part of the Sheridan Community. In addition to the museum, the Society organizes the annual Boxley Lecture Series cultural program in February and organizes the annual Bluegrass Festival in Veterans Park. Beginning this year the Society will partner with the Hamilton County Parks Department to bring bluegrass aficionados the new Hamilton County Bluegrass Festival on July 7 and 8 at Bishop Park in Arcadia in place of the Sheridan Bluegrass Festival.

The Society meets on the second Monday of every month at 7 p.m. in the Community Room of the Sheridan Public Library. Several times a year the monthly meeting will feature an interesting guest speaker; the monthly meetings are always open to the general public. Membership in the Society is only $20 a year, and $110 buys you a lifetime membership. For more information about the Sheridan Historical Society, call (317) 758-5054 or visit them at 308 South Main Street any Tuesday or Friday afternoon from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., or just come to one of our monthly meetings at the library. Won’t you join us?