IUSB hosts traveling South Bend history exhibit

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Staff Writer

IU South Bend students, along with anyone passing Mishawaka Avenue, have probably noticed five large panels along the pedestrian mall between Wiekamp Hall and the Administrative Building.
What are they?
“They were originally made for South Bend’s 150 Memorial Day celebration, which took place next to Howard Park, and have been going place to place across town since then,” said James VanderVeen, chair of the sociology and anthropology department.
The exhibit is called “South Bend Drive” and gives IUSB students and faculty the chance to learn a bit of South Bend history without having to leave campus.
The exhibit consists of the five panels which are about seven feet tall with about 100 feet of information. The panels will be displayed throughout the month of October. Their goal is to tell South Bend’s 150-year story.
Each panel highlights important moments from the different eras. It starts from the early history, discussing the Potawatomi and the early settlers, then goes on to the early industries. One panel touches on the decline of the local companies such as Studebaker and Oliver. The panels end on a positive note with today’s new era and South Bend’s plan for the future.
Before they made their way to IUSB’s campus, they were displayed at a University of Notre Dame gallery.
“I thought they would be great for our campus because our campus is very open and the panels can be seen by people walking or driving by,” VanderVeen said.
VanderVeen said George Garner, project leader on the panels, posted a status on Facebook asking who would like to host the panels next and VanderVeen immediately responded.
“Bringing the panels really was a big collaborative effort. I got approval from the chancellor and worked with George Garner and the director of facilities here at IUSB, Michael Prater,” VanderVeen explained. “You can walk to them on your way to get a burger at The Grille or on your way to and from class and read a little bit about our history. We really wanted these to pique people’s interest.”
To learn more about the history of South Bend and continue the SB150 celebration, be sure to check out the panels before they travel to their next location at the end of this month.

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