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Special Exhibits and Programs


Coming this summer to the Havilah Beardsley House from June 22 - September 30 is Roaring Indiana in the Jazz Age - a new special exhibit! 

In Roaring Indiana in the Jazz Age, Ruthmere will be exploring the prominent themes of the Jazz Age in Elkhart and Indiana as a whole. Our state played an important part in the rise of jazz, cultivating the careers of big names like Hoagy Carmichael and Louis Armstrong at Gennett Records in Richmond, Indiana and composer/songwriter Cole Porter. Elkhart helped to fuel the flames of the movement - several band instrument companies thrived here in the 1920s, including those of Conn, Martin, and Buescher.

But the Jazz Age isn't all about jazz. While jazz is certainly indiciative of the shifting attitudes of the time, it was underlain by complex social issues. Roaring Indiana will discuss the ties between prohibition and the KKK's rise to power in Indiana, as well as the hot-blooded criminal mindset of local gangsters, bank robbers, and the vigilantes who sought to bring these men to justice. We will also cover the positive outcomes of the era - the powerful literature, the inspired artists, and the strong-willed public figures who brought about important changes in our community.

Roaring Indiana will be composed of pieces from our own collection as well as loans from the Wayne County Historical Museum in Richmond, the Indiana Historical Society, the Indiana State Museum, and the Elkhart County Historical Museum. Stop by the Havilah Beardsley House between June 22 and September 30, 2023 to transport back in time and learn about the part Indiana played in the age of jazz.

Thank you to our exhibit sponsors, Steve and Julie Bachman!

Related Events:

Spring Concert: Jeremy Kahn, Jazz Pianist

June 22, 2023

Learn More

Coffee on the Piazza Performer:

Sentimental Journeys - 20+ Member Jazz Band

June 24, 2023

Learn More

Gallery Talk: American Jazz

with Larry Dwyer, Notre Dame Assistant Director of Bands and Director of Jazz Studies   

August 1, 2023

Registration TBA


FREE Juneteenth Celebration Documentary Screenings

(in Cooperation with AMBS)

What Happened at Benham West: African American Stories of Community, Displacement, and Hope

Monday, June 19th 

at 10 am, 2 pm, and 6 pm at Ruthmere

What Happened at Benham West is a documentary film that examines the history of Benham West, an African American neighborhood in Elkhart, Indiana. Benham West was forcibly segregated in the 1920s yet became a thriving community for Black families and businesses over the following decades. The community was cleared in the 1970s in the name of urban renewal—yet very little was rebuilt or renewed. What Happened at Benham West tells the neighborhood’s story through the voices of 17 African American elders who lived it. Learn more here.


Children's Craft Day

Saturday, June 17th

from 12 - 3 pm

Join us on Saturday, June 17th for three hours of fun and creativity! We are holding this Children's Craft Day in honor of the launch of our new book, The Mousleys Coloring & Activity Book. There will be several kinds of guided crafts for kids to try, including sculpting, rock painting, and making a simple paper kite. We will also offer self-guided activities like lawn games, sidewalk chalk, and a coloring/drawing station. A balloon artist AND face painter will be on-site to keep the fun going.

Admission is FREE and no registration is required. Light snacks will be available, as well as tickets for prize games for purchase. We will offer a limited time discount on The Mousleys Coloring & Activity Book for that day only!



302 E. Beardsley Ave.

Elkhart, IN 46514

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