- Associated Press - Saturday, October 31, 2015

LYLES STATION, Ind. (AP) - Artifacts from a southwestern Indiana community founded in the 1840s by freed slaves will go on display next year at the Smithsonian Institution’s new African-American history museum.

The pioneer-themed display will include soil, pictures, a quilt and farming tools from Lyles Station in Gibson County, the Princeton Daily Clarion (https://bit.ly/1PUz532 ) reported. The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is set to open in 2016.

The community, which is located along a rail line about 30 miles north of Evansville, peaked in the late 1800s with about 800 residents. The area started to decline after a major flood in 1913, and only a handful of buildings are left today. The community’s school got a $1 million renovation more than a decade ago to convert it into a museum.

Lyles Station spokesman Stanley Madison said the items sent to the museum are meant to establish the community’s image and “build curiosity to bring people here.” More tourism opportunities will result from the exhibit, Gibson County Tourism Executive Director Eric Heidenreich said.

The Indiana State Museum will also host artifacts from Lyles Station for its bicentennial celebration next year. Exhibits will focus on how the community is one of the few remaining African-American pioneer colonies established before the Civil War.

Talks with a Smithsonian Institution official to bring items from the community to the museum began more than four years ago.

“It’s a good feeling to know there will be others to hear the stories,” Madison said.

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Information from: Princeton Daily Clarion, https://www.tristate-media.com/pdclarion

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