Historic Reappointment: Clark County Museum Director to Continue as County Historian
The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) and the Indiana Historical Bureau are pleased to announce Jeanne Burke of Charlestown has been reappointed as the official Clark County historian.
In this role, Burke acts as a liaison between statewide agencies and local organizations. She also takes questions from the public.
"Two years ago, I got a call from a German woman who came to America to find her American father on the strength of his 1945 return address on a letter to her mother," said Burke.
According to Burke, the woman was curious as to why her mother, then 95-years old, had not received more letters from him.
When Burke learned the man's name, she knew who he was. Sadly, he had died the year before.
"With the help of Kathy Chaney and Amy Jo Munich, we were able to surprise the woman when her half brother and two half sisters flew in to meet her in Jeffersonville," said Burke. "She—and they—were overjoyed."
Fielding questions from the public and finding answers is a large part of Burke's role as Clark County historian—and one she will take pride in for another three-year term.
Although Burke was born at Fort Knox, Kentucky, her family has been in Clark County for nine generations. After attending Bellarmine College and Indiana University Southeast, Burke worked as an interpreter at the George Rogers Clark home site in Clarksville.
Recently, Burke was named director of the new Clark County Museum in Jeffersonville. While the job comes with many responsibilities, it is safe to say Burke's role as county historian is never far from her mind, due in part to her German visitor.
"She called me from Germany last week to say, 'I will never forget you,'" said Burke. "That's why the country historian service is important."
For more information
The County Historian Program was established in 1981, in an effort to improve the historical communication network across the state. For more information about the program, and other IHS resources and events, call (317) 232-1882. In addition, a directory of local county historians is available online at www.indianahistory.org.
About the Indiana Historical Society
Since 1830, the Indiana Historical Society has been Indiana's Storyteller™, connecting people to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing the state's history. A private, nonprofit membership organization, IHS maintains the nation's premier research library and archives on the history of Indiana and the Old Northwest and presents a unique set of visitor experiences called the Indiana Experience. IHS also provides support and assistance to local museums and historical groups; publishes books and periodicals; sponsors teacher workshops; produces and hosts art exhibitions, museum theater and outside performance groups; and provides youth, adult and family programs. IHS is a Smithsonian Affiliate and a member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.