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About Us

Our Mission

The History Center at the Marion Public Library connects the public with Grant County's history through collecting, interpreting, and preserving its objects, writing, oral history, art, and music to inform the present. The museum engages with the public through programs, exhibitions, and research based on its remarkable collections.

Connect with Us

We welcome you to reach out to us with questions or comments. You can contact our team using the information listed below.

The History Center at Marion Public Library

600 S Washington St.

Marion, IN 46953

Email us at hc@marion.lib.in.us.

Call us at (765) 668-2900 ext. 1131

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Museum History

The Carnegie Building

The History Center Museum is housed in the historic Carnegie building, which originally housed the Marion Public Library. Built in 1902 and funded by American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, the Carnegie building is a landmark of local history.

Ground broke for a sizeable addition to the building in 1989 and officially opened as the Marion Public Library in 1991. Since this time, the Carnegie building has housed the Indiana History & Genealogy Room and the museum.

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Constructed around eight years before Andrew Carnegie advised cities to "avoid building Greek temples" as libraries, Marion's Carnegie Library is a stunning example of Neoclassical architecture. The northern façade of the building facing 6th Street was once the primary entrance to the library. While no longer an operational entrance, the limestone building façade still features classical elements through Roman Doric columns, floral accents, scroll medallions, and a parapet with the inscription "Art Literature Music". Inside the museum, the building's original grand marble staircase, columns, and mosaic floor tiling remain.

The History Center Museum and the Indiana History & Genealogy room occupy the entirety of the Carnegie building, with the museum's extensive collection stretching over three floors. The upper floor also houses the Forrest Meeting Room and Carnegie Lecture Hall, which local individuals and organizations can reserve for meetings and events.

The Octogenarian Museum

Many of the items in the History Center's museum collections today were donated by the Grant County Historical Society from the Octogenarian Museum collection.

Built by Marion's Octogenarian Club in 1909, the Octogenarian Museum was a small log cabin at Matter Park, intended to house historic objects from Marion and preserve its history.  The cabin was erected in one day, and its primitive architectural style represented the earliest methods of pioneer homemaking, even down to the tools used in its construction. In 1929, a larger building was constructed around the cabin to help protect it from the elements and to increase the museum space.

 

In 1973, the cabin was dismantled due to termite damage. The Octogenarian Museum building remained at Matter Park until its demolition in 1991. Its contents, then in the care of the Grant County Historical Society, were moved to storage. These items were donated to the Marion Public Library & Museum in 1992 and formed the foundation of the History Center's collection. 

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