HOPE — While taking a brief respite between harvest and holiday activities, residents of Hope have set aside one evening to place their Yellow Trail Museum back in the spotlight.

An open house at the newly expanded museum across from the Hope Town Square will be conducted from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday.

After acquiring part of what had been an adjacent accounting firm, the Yellow Trail Museum now has 33 percent more space for its exhibits and activities, longtime museum volunteer Barb Johnson said.

That allowed renovations to take place such as re-creating an archway connecting the two buildings, as well as restore hardwood floors and tin ceilings, Johnson said.

While the expansion was open to the public during the three-day Hope Heritage Days festival in September, Thursday’s official grand opening of the new area has a larger purpose.

“The main reason we’re having this event is to thank the Heritage Fund for a wonderful grant,” Johnson said.

She is referring to $25,000 from Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, which allowed the museum to acquire the space.

The most popular exhibit in the expanded area is the wagon used by the now-prominent Clouse family when they moved from North Carolina in 1839 to what was then a 9-year-old Moravian settlement.

“I don’t think I’d use it to travel across the country again, but it’s remarkably in good shape for its age,” Johnson said of the renovated wagon.

Earlier, the wagon had been displayed in the former Rural Mail Carrier’s Museum on the Town Square.

In addition, a new military display has been placed in the expansion, which will include video interviews of Hope area veterans, she said.

Much of what is now vacant space in the addition later will be used to create a research area geared toward genealogy, Johnson said.

Those efforts recently received a boost with a new computer provided by the Hawcreek-Flat Rock Area Endowment, as well as a printer and scanner donated by the Bartholomew County Genealogical Society, Johnson said.

If you go

What: Open house and official grand opening of the expansion of the Yellow Trail Museum.

When: Thursday, 6 to 8 p.m.

Where: 644 Main St., at the southwest corner of Jackson and Main, across from the Hope Town Square.

Cost: Free

Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.