TCHA History Center
At the beginning of 2017, the Tippecanoe County Historical Association (TCHA) purchased the Masonic Temple building at 522 Columbia Street. The 1967 building at 522 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.