Community Center & Museum


At the beginning of 2017, the Tippecanoe County Historical Association (TCHA) purchased the Masonic Temple building at 533 Columbia Street. The 1967 building at 533 Columbia Street will be converted into a Community Center and Museum. “This is an exciting project and just what TCHA has been needing” said Executive Director Craig Hadley. “We will now be able to offer all manner of programs not only to our membership, but to the residents of Tippecanoe County as well.” Hadley also noted that this will not affect anything in regards to the Arganbright building. “The library, archives, collections and administrative offices will remain intact there” he said.

The new building is approximately 15,000 square feet in size with a banquet room, commercial-style kitchen, an auditorium, office space, basement storage and other smaller rooms. TCHA will move all of its off-site collections that are both in the Fowler House and in various storage facilities around town, to the basement storage area. “We have been in critical need of additional collections storage space for some time, “said Hadley, “ and this new building has the added bonus of giving us that space.”

As for exhibits, there is approximately 1,100 square feet available. These exhibits will highlight just a taste of what TCHA has in its large collection. The new exhibits will be professionally designed and fabricated. The exhibit team will determine which items from the collection to highlight and some of the new exhibit areas will actually rotate exhibit items and topics.

TCHA will spend 2017 raising the money for all of the building renovations and improvements with construction to begin sometime in the fall. The hope is that the building will be ready for a grand opening in January of 2018. Monies will consist of a combination of grants, individual donations and corporate sponsorships. Once completed, TCHA will be able to offer everything from public programs, monthly lectures, classic film nights, workshops and even galas. “We also want this space to be a resource to the community,” says Hadley. “Just like the Feast of the Hunters’ Moon event where we support more than 50 non-profit organizations, we want to make this space available to those smaller non-profits in Tippecanoe County for event space that they could not normally afford elsewhere. That will then make this a true community center and a valuable resource in the heart of Lafayette.”

Hadley notes that there will be a few limited programs offered in the new building throughout 2017 that include some of the 50/300 anniversary events. Additionally, as part of the sale agreement with the Masons, TCHA will allow the Masons to continue to use the building for their meetings for an additional 6 months following the sale to allow them time to find a new home.

Architectural Drawings and Conceptual Drawings



Fort Ouiatenon Blockhouse Opening Celebration @ Fort Ouiatenon Historic Park
Jun 3 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Fort Ouiatenon Blockhouse Opening Celebration @ Fort Ouiatenon Historic Park

Celebrate the opening of the Blockhouse Museum at Fort Ouiatenon Historic Park with games and activities for the whole family. Step back in time to the 1700’s- era fur trading post. Encounter characters from this historic fort and learn about the current research being done to help preserve this important site.

The Blockhouse Museum is open on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm.

Woodland Native American Life @ TCHA History Center (Former Masonic Lodge)
Jun 10 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Woodland Native American Life @ TCHA History Center (Former Masonic Lodge)

“Their Bearing is Noble and Proud.” presentation by James F. O’Neil. It will be a look at what clothing Native Americans of the 18th Century actually wore.  The talk will be based on period quotes, slides of period paintings, engravings, and sketches, and slides of items that are in museums from around the world.  We will see that the image presented to the world is far from what the Native Americans looked like in this time period.  We will also look at the effect of the fur trade upon the appearance of Native Americans.

James F. O’Neil has a Bachelors in history and masters in education from the University of Dayton. He compiled and edited “Their Bearing is Noble and Proud Vol. I & II”, A collection of narratives regarding the appearance of Native Americans from 1740-1815.

Firearms at the Fort @ Fort Ouiatenon Historic Park, River Shelter
Jul 1 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Firearms at the Fort @ Fort Ouiatenon Historic Park, River Shelter

The program, entitled Firearms at the Fort will be a discussion and live – fire demonstration of historic firearms of the 18th century frontier.  The program will be led by Rick Conwell, manager of the Tippecanoe Battlefield Interpretive Center and History Store, with the support and cooperation of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association.

Visitors will have the chance to:

  • Examine and handle, (with supervision), several original and reproduction arms.
  • View firearms related artifacts from TCHA’s collections which were excavated at the site of Fort Ouiatenon during the 1970’s.
  • Learn how a flintlock works, both from the inside and out, and, btw, why do they call it a “lock”, anyway?
  • Learn the differences and similarities between a musket, a rifle, and a “trade gun”, and the military, social, and economic rolls each played in daily life at the fort.
  • Examine the equipment and accessories peculiar to each type of arm, along with how each is safely loaded, fired, and maintained.
  • Discuss the technological progress that led to the development of modern firearms as we know them today.
  • Find out what a ”Kentucky” rifle is, how it got the name, why the barrel is so long, and how far it will shoot.
  • Learn what we mean by “guage” and “caliber”.
  • Find out how to tell if it’s loaded, and how to safely extract a load.

The program will be held at the west picnic shelter near the boat ramp. The Ouiatenon  blockhouse will also be open, set up to resemble an early French trading post and staffed with historical interpreters in period clothing. So bring a picnic lunch, if you like, and make it an afternoon of historical fun and education. 



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