- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) - A new traveling exhibit will make its first stop by rail in Columbus next month leading up to Indiana’s 200th birthday in 2016.

The Indiana Historical Society’s Indiana Bicentennial Train will stop at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds from Sept. 18 to 20.

Lynn Lucas, Columbus Area Visitors Center executive director, said the train visit will be great for residents young and old to learn about Indiana’s history.

“Nationally, we see this trend of several generations doing things together. This is a wonderful example of a grandfather taking his grandchildren or mom and dad taking the kids,” she told The Republic (http://bit.ly/1qopRzv ). “Even if you’re not from Indiana, and you’re living in the area, why not teach your kids about the area?”

Through the Indiana Historical Society’s extensive visual and archival collections, the free traveling exhibit will consist of Indiana history in the 20th century, Indiana today and what the state might be like in the future.

The exhibit focuses on Indiana’s history in transportation, land use, talent and community and is set up in three of The Next Indiana’s freight cars.

Southside Elementary School teacher Becky Williams said she will be taking her class to check out the exhibit to encourage her students to think about Indiana’s history in a new way.

“For the fifth- and sixth-graders, it will be a review for them and also helps foster that passion for the state,” she said.

“This state has a lot to offer. I keep trying to instill that passion.

“Any time you can offer your kids a hands-on experience, especially with history, I think it is valuable,” she said.

Williams’ students have been learning about Indiana railroads and their effect on the state’s economy in anticipation of the Bicentennial Train’s arrival.

She is encouraging students to prepare questions for a historical interpreter who will talk about Hoosier life over the years.

The train’s visit will incorporate a temporary train depot set up where the public can take part in educational activities, learn about local history and watch performances from historic interpreter Kevin Stonerock as he portrays Daniel Morgan Cook in the year 1916.

The tour is in partnership with the Indiana Rail Road Co. and Norfolk Southern Corp. The Bicentennial Train will travel to Jasper, Terre Haute and Bargersville after its stop in Columbus.

A pop-up market to purchase Indiana and bicentennial-related items from the Indiana Historical Society also will be available. The historical society is sponsoring the traveling exhibit.

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