Groups announce partnership to preserve Coliseum artifacts

Local News

To preserve historic records, documents, and photographs pertaining to the Civil War era housed in the Vanderburgh County Coliseum, several local groups are partnering together. (Photo courtesy Courier & Press)

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — Several local groups are partnering together in an effort to preserve local historic records, documents, and photographs pertaining to the Civil War era housed in the Vanderburgh County Coliseum.

The effort, approved recently after a vote of the Vanderburgh County Commissioners, is spearheaded by:

  • The University of Southern Indiana and its University Archives and Special Collections
  • The Veterans Council of Vanderburgh County, Indiana
  • Vanderburgh County Commissioners
  • The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War/Foster Camp

The Coliseum is home to a large number of historic records, documents, and photographs of the Civil War era, but these artifacts are fragile and risk decay and deterioration.

A board of pictures of “United Spanish War veterans” sits in a room in the Coliseum. (Photo courtesy Courier & Press/2018 File Photo)

The University of Southern Indiana, with its expertise, faculty, staff, resources, and facilities, will perform basic preservation and conservation on the materials to protect and restore them.

Once completed, select materials will be scanned for online display.

“For many years local historians wanted to inventory and preserve historic items in the Coliseum. Thanks to USI’s expertise and resources, we can ensure these important records will be cared for,” said The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War secretary Joshua Claybourn.

The Coliseum, operated by the Veterans Council, houses a variety of military artifacts, memorabilia, documents, and photographs — particularly the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) and its allied orders. The GAR was a fraternal organization for Civil War veterans.

“Preservation of Civil War and GAR memorials is a big part of our mission,” said Dennis Hutchinson, commander for the local camp of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. “We were eager to prompt this collaboration and we are excited to assist in preserving these important documents for future generations.”

The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) is a fraternal organization dedicated to preserving the history and legacy of veteran heroes who fought and worked to save the Union in the American Civil War. Organized in 1881 and chartered by Congress in 1954, SUVCW is the legal heir and successor to the Grand Army of the Republic. The John W. Foster Camp No. 2 of the SUVCW was organized on 11 July 2014.

The USI University Archives and Special Collections (UASC) is committed to acquiring and preserving material about the development and operations of USI and regional history, focusing on the southwestern region of Indiana. The UASC preserves and organizes materials for research and includes 600 regional collections, over 700 audio/video tapes, and 43,000 images and documents online.

The Veterans Council, a non-profit dedicated to supporting the area’s veterans, leases the Coliseum from Vanderburgh County. Under the lease, the Veterans Council is responsible for maintaining the Coliseum.

For the latest breaking news and stories from across thetri-state, follow Eyewitness News on Facebook and Twitter.

(This story was originally published on August 28, 2019)

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.