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Big Changes at the Howard – Fall 2020

Soon the leaves will be turning their beautiful and vibrant colors, followed by cool evening breezes, the last cook outs of the season, and spicy cider by the fire.  Fall is upon us and here at the Howard Steamboat Museum we are ready to welcome you to enjoy the season with us!

The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated us to close from the 15th of March until the 16th of June.  Not folks to rest on our laurels, we used this time to renovate our gift shop and make a few other positive changes around the campus.  We will talk more about that later in the newsletter.

We have had a much better summer season than we expected.  People are coming out and experiencing our campus while safely following CDC guidelines. We have found people to be very understanding in these stressful times.   While we miss our bus tour partners and the great guests they bring us from all over the country, we know they will be back soon.

We are planning our Annual Christmas Open House on the 6th of December and are adding a new opportunity to the mix, a Christmas Bazaar in the Carriage House to bring shoppers in for unique gift items.  The mansion will still be open, Santa will still greet the kiddoes and we will still have light snacks.  We are just opening up another opportunity for our holiday guests.

For 2021 we are already working on new experiences and fun events on campus.  Be sure to watch for further newsletters as these plans come together!  There is always something fun and educational going on at the Howard…plan to join us soon!


Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper come to the Carriage House. First show of the 2021 season in our Carriage House Concert Series

On Friday the 14th of May 2021 the Carriage House will reverberate with the phenomenal talents of 2020 Grammy Winner Michael Cleveland and his band Flamekeeper.  Advance tickets can be purchased at

Tickets are $45.00 in advance and $50.00 at the door (if we have any left to sell).  The doors open at 5:30pm with a BBQ dinner, drinks and bar service available for purchase.  There will also be a meet-and-greet event prior to the show.  The show starts promptly at 7:00pm.

This show is selling fast, so order your tickets today!


The Gift Shop renovation

Our Gift Shop has been updated and expanded for your shopping pleasure

While we were closed for the COVID-19 pandemic we had some staff who kept working behind the scenes.  A former Board Member (David Reinhardt, thanks Dave!!) donated cabinetry and counter tops, Captain Edward G. “Pete” O’Connell built us some great new library shelves, and our staff members came in to assemble new displays and put everything together.   We now have a wonderful retail space as well as an inviting welcoming area for the mansion.  Stop by and check it out, we hope you’ll really like what you see!


The Howard Steamboat Museum is now offering Lunch and Learning Tours

We can combine a tour of our facility with a catered meal in our newly-restored 1880’s vintage Carriage House.  Everything is included at one location right on our campus!  There is plenty of space for your motor coach to load, unload, and park, mere feet from the entrance to the museum campus.

Do you have a group that is looking for a new venue to explore?  How about a church group which needs a fun fellowship outing?  Are you looking for an educational experience for your Sunday School class, Boy Scout troop, Girl Scout troop, after-school care group?  How about that senior group or club?

Here is what to expect

We will have a meal ready for your guests when you arrive. The meal will be served in Bales Hall, inside our newly restored Carriage House. Once lunch is over, we will show a short film detailing the era of the Howard Shipyard before you walk a few feet across the lawn to the mansion.

Our docents will be standing at the ready to introduce your guests to another time when the lavish Victorian lifestyle, river travel, and steamboats were a way of life. A self-guided tour of the museum with our staff staged in the mansion to answer your questions, will allow everyone to take in this exquisite gem at their own pace.

A little about the buildings on our campus

The Carriage House is a historic structure with its unique architectural charms, fully climate-controlled interior, and sparkling restrooms. The dining area (Bales Hall) is a beautiful place to enjoy your meal with its soaring 40’ ft vaulted ceilings, open cupula, and exposed beam construction.

The Howard family Richardsonian Romanesque-styled mansion, Designed by the local design firm of Drach and Thomas and built by the Howard Shipyard crew between 1890 and 1894, features a restored first floor with original family furnishings (many of which came from the fabled 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition), 15 different types of wood, and original gasolier chandeliers throughout.  Keep in mind we are the only steamboat museum in the nation. While there are several museums throughout the nation focused on specific vessels and rivers, we are the only museum focused on the history of the steamboat, located in the premier steamboat builders home.

Details on the program

We can accommodate large groups (30-50 people) comfortably.  We do require at least a three week advanced reservation to accommodate your group and provide adaquate staffing.

We can customize an experience to accommodate your needs with possibilities, like having a docent aboard your bus to prepare them for the experience, a video presentation to introduce the Howard family legacy, docents staged throughout the mansion to answer your group’s questions with personal service.  We are looking forward to sharing this great facility with your special group!

These packages are only available Tuesday – Friday, from 11:00am until 2:00pm. We require a minimum of 20 people for a booking. We require a 50% deposit.  Balance due at time of tour.  Deposits are 50% refundable if cancelled two weeks prior to your scheduled tour. We will include your tour guide and one bus driver at no additional cost.

Please call us to discuss menu options and dietary restrictions.  With sufficient notice we will make every attempt to accommodate your needs.

Call us at (812) 283.3728 and find out what wonderful opportunities we have to offer your group!



Carriage House Rentals

With the holidays coming people are starting to think about their holiday parties.  Wouldn’t it be great to invite people to join you in a place you don’t have to clean up afterwards?  Our manager, Mrs. Bonnie Poore, is booking the beautiful venue almost constantly.  She is available via phone at (812) 913-4591 or email at

If you have a family event coming up, think about using the Carriage House as a location.  Bonnie is well versed in what it takes to make your event perfect.  From caterers, to decorations, to entertainment, she is on top of it and will make your event the talk of the town!

Our interior space is comprised of two unique venues – a reception hall and the spacious Bales Hall.  We feature a state-of-the-art audio/visual system, historic finishes and appointments, and space you have to see to believe.  Then there is our warming kitchen that is ready for your professional caterer to provide you with the finest culinary delights.  We have a bar that serves both in and out of doors for your caterer to utilize as well.

Bring the outside in with our 3-season heated veranda featuring weather blocking Kevlar drapes to keep you warm and/or dry when the weather is teasing us.  We also have our pavilion deck with charming chairs and tables to spread the crowd out.  When night falls our outdoor pavilion has a unique lighting system to encourage a great time for your group!

It’s the versatility of the space that makes the place and we have the perfect mixture for your event!  Call Bonnie now at (812) 913-4591 to set up an appointment to see what a wonderful event you can plan for your guests!  One thing is for sure, it’s sure to be the talk of the town!


Collections News


We have been blessed with two great interns from Indiana University South East for the last 7 months. They are working on organizing our collections, repackaging them for proper storage, developing new rotating exhibits, and generally making this an even better place to be.  We want to take a few moments and publicly thank Madison Schnell and Christian Thomas for their hard work.  They are doing this work for us post studies and bring a wealth of information (not to mention youthful energy) to us.

Christian has been assisting us with our social media presence and is most notable for filming our new “Curators Corner” series of videos on Instagram and Facebook.

Together they have been a driving force of creativity and have given us new ways to approach things around here to bring us up to date in the best ways we can.  They have truly breathed new life into the collection and the museum.  Next time you stop by there is a good chance you will see some of the great work they have done for us.


Volunteers needed

We are looking for a few good people.  Do you like to talk with and meet people from all over the country?  Are you interested in sharing local history with visitors?

The Howard Steamboat Museum can use your talents!

We are seeking four people who can be volunteer docents for the museum, interpreting the house and collection for our visitors.  We would like to have people who can work from 10:00am until 4:00pm at least one day a week.  We aren’t always busy and you will have the museum at your disposal to read, learn, and explore in your free time.  We will train you in what you need to know.  Our belief is that we give you the tools and you make those facts blossom for our guests in your own way.  You will be expected to greet our guests as they arrive, assist them in a tour of the museum, handle sales of gift shop items, and balance your cash drawer at the end of the shift.  It is a lot of fun and you sure meet some interesting people along the way.  Contact us at  or call us at (812) 283-3728 and let us know just how interested you are!


Museum Wish List

Donations and bequests are gratefully received. The Clark County Historical Society/Howard Steamboat Museum, Inc. is a 501©3 organization. Therefore, your gift may be tax deductible. Contact your tax consultant for details.

The museum receives no regular federal, state, county or city tax dollars. Occasional grants from a variety of entities are used to fund special projects.

The museum always has basic needs to function properly.  We are grateful for all the support we receive from the community and our guests.  However, there are a number of things we need for daily operation.  If you have these items or know of someone who may be willing to donate them to us, we would be very appreciative!

Office Supplies

  • Printer paper (white)
  • Printer paper (pastel colors)
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Stamps (Forever stamps, preferred)
  • #6 ¾” Envelopes
  • Paper Cutter



Housekeeping and Household Supplies

  • Coffee (reg. and decaf)
  • Vacuum cleaner bags (A-Type)
  • Window cleaner
  • Disinfectant cleaner and spray
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Mop and mop bucket
  • Paper towels (regular)
  • Cleaning rags
  • Garbage bags (kitchen size and full size)
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Leaf Blower




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