Preserving Zionsville History: The SullivanMunce Cultural Center
Writer / Stephanie Duncan
For those wanting to learn more about the rich history of a historic town, a family tree, participate in community events or explore local art, the SullivanMunce Cultural Center is the place to look.
The center, which includes the P.H. Sullivan Museum, Genealogy Library, and Munce Art Center, is a place that features a wide range of exhibits, events and programs to celebrate the culture and history of Zionsville. The center has been operating since 1973 and continues to offer up a rich catalog of programs and resources to the local community.
Cynthia Young, executive director of the center, talks about how important this organization is to the community.
“The SullivanMunce Cultural Center collects, preserves and displays the history of Zionsville. It is our role in the community to make this information accessible for education, research and enjoyment,” Young says.
The SullivanMunce Cultural Center wouldn’t be where it is today without the original vision of two women, Iva Etta Sullivan and Mary Elizabeth Munce. Sullivan was the the great-granddaughter of an early Boone County settler, Patrick Henry Sullivan. She formed the P.H. Sullivan Foundation, which donated funds to build a museum and a library focused on genealogy to preserve the heritage of the town.
Munce, who also grew up in Zionsville, played a crucial role in the development of the art center that opened in 1981 — with her own donation. The different centers united under one name in 2003. The name, SullivanMunce Cultural Center, aims to reflect both women’s mission to enrich their community with the preservation, education and appreciation of history and the arts.
The center hosts multiple unique art exhibitions every year, featuring both local and regional artists. Flava! Fresh exhibition is an Indianapolis based juried presentation of contemporary art, illustrating the passion, anger, hope, perseverance and celebration of women’s rights. That exhibit will start September 13 and run through October 26.
Another upcoming exhibition includes, Through the Lens, Lloyd Riley, Photojournalist. This exhibition will feature Lloyd Riley’s photographs of Zionsville from 1960-70s and also encourages community engagement where Zionsville residents can capture and submit photos from local events to help curate “history in the making” for the center. It will open November 15.
In addition to offering traditional art exhibits, the center offers over 50 classes, camps and workshops for adults and children throughout the year, as well as scheduled studio time for local artists needing a space to work
If you’re looking for more hands-on experiences, the Zionsville Paint Out is an event where the community is encouraged to participate. Starting August 10, artists can paint anywhere in Zionsville. An exhibition of the paintings will be displayed August 11 through August 31, and awards will be given by judges at the center.
The center also provides valuable genealogy resources. According to its website, The Genealogy Library works to collect, preserve, and make available genealogical resources to aid those who are exploring their roots in Boone County and beyond. The center has now amassed over 5,000 volumes that exist as a valuable resource for explore the history and genealogy of the area.
The SullivanMunce Center is located 225 W. Hawthorne St. To find all the latest events and current art galleries, visit its website, sullivanmunce.org.