One of the best free venues for shock and awe in Fort Wayne is the Karpeles Museum on Fort Wayne’s south side.
Upon visiting this place for the first time a year ago, I was thrilled. As an author, I like to view old documents when possible. Inside the Karpeles Museum I saw documents written by Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, and Clara Barton. The theme at that time was ‘Transportation’. The items on display reflected some connection with transportation and were written by the individual’s own hand.
My jaw hung open for much of the time I was in the converted church where the Karpeles exhibits have been housed since it opened in 2008. How cool to see what Mark Twain’s thoughts looked like on paper without benefit of the "delete" button!
There are only 12 Karpeles Museums in the US (Rock Island, Illinois is the next closest after Fort Wayne). Every three months the exhibit inside the Karpeles Museum changes. The current exhibit, Theories of Darwin, runs through August. An exhibit on Freud is planned for fall.
There are usually 25-30 items in each exhibit. The Darwin exhibit consists of documents written by Darwin from the time of the Civil War to the end of the 20th century.
It’s inspiring to think how far we’ve come in compiling research. It might have taken Darwin months or even years to write letters, expounding a single theory, with another philosopher. Today it could all be done in a matter of minutes via email or Skype.
No matter the temporary exhibit, the museum’s permanent exhibit is just as cool – authentic Egyptian pieces!
Celebrate the fact that Fort Wayne was chosen as a city with a high interest in education, several cultural events, and museums, making it worthy to host a Karpeles Museum. Check it out!
3039 Piqua Avenue
Kayleen Reusser has written children’s books and had stories in Chicken Soup books. She writes features for the News-Sentinel newspaper and profiles for the Ossian Sun Riser. She loves to travel and write about her experiences at her website: www.KayleenR.com