Historic Photographs Part III - The Rise of the Snapshot

Posted by: Nadia Kousari, Collections Specialist on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 12:00:00 am

We all have that special photograph album that we treasure. Perhaps it includes images of birthdays, vacations, and snapshots of special events. Have you ever thought about how the snapshot came to be? Our digital cameras and prints are easy, but photography wasn’t always such a breeze. Prior to the 1880s the photographic process was difficult and cumbersome, but in the late 1880s Kodak introduced gelatin silver roll film cameras. The use of gelatin silver made the process of photography faster and easier. As a result, the rise of the amateur photographer endured as photography was now accessible for nearly anyone ...

Minnetrista Sculpture - The Wishing Well

Posted by: Karen Vincent, Director of Collections and Diane Barts, Registrar on Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 12:00:00 am

Have you ever walked through the gardens at Oakhurst and wondered about the rabbit fountain? Did you get married in the gazebo? At different points across Minnetrista's campus, you see beautiful sculpture and architectural details. Most of the pieces have a direct relation to the Ball family. The Wishing Well was once the focal point of a garden on the grounds of the Frank C. Ball home. It was purchased in Venice on one of Mr. and Mrs. Ball’s trips abroad. Following the 1967 fire that destroyed the Ball family home, the Wishing Well was moved to the home of Alexander and Rosemary Ball Bracken in Westwood. Mrs. ...

Historic Photographs Part II: Cartes de Visite

Posted by: Nadia Kousari, Collections Specialist on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 12:00:00 am

Like modern trading cards, cartes de visite became the craze in the 1860s. Immediate descendants of the calling card, they are small mounted prints, usually 2 ½” x 4” in size. Cartes were inexpensive, easy to produce, and available to most people. Museums may acquire images for their cultural, rather than photographic, qualities. As cultural objects their value lies in the fact that they reveal history in a way that no other object can. In addition to the scholarly value of the carte de visite, cartes also have exhibition value. Due to the considerable number of cartes de visite that were produced in the nineteenth ...

Gardener Dustin answers: "What is a rain garden?"

Posted by: Stephanie Fisher on Monday, August 1, 2011 at 12:00:00 am

There's been a lot of buzz at Minnetrista lately about rain gardens. I had a foggy notion of what a rain garden was. A garden full of rain? A garden built to attract rain, like a rain dance? Really, I had no idea. I asked our natural areas gardener, Dustin Stillinger, to shed a little light on the question: "What is a rain garden?" Along the way he told me what kinds of plants we're using in our rain garden and some things to consider if you're planning one at home. Check out this video and visit the new rain garden at Minnetrista for inspiration! Visit for expert advice on ...


Posted by: Cassie Banning on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 12:00:00 am

We have now officially entered what Dustin, one of our Gardeners here at Minnetrista, calls "the dry season." For the past few years we've noticed having quite a lot of rain during the spring months, almost too much to really be able to do many spring projects in the garden. However, as July rolls around the rain just disappears, as if someone turned off the rain switch.

Historic Photographs Part 1: Ambrotypes

Posted by: Nadia Kousari, Collections Specialist on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 12:00:00 am

Several different types of photographs are represented in the Minnetrista Heritage Collection, including daguerreotype, ambrotypes, cartes de visite, snapshots and much more. This is the first of several articles describing different types of photos. Ambrotypes are an early type of photograph, first used in 1851. Some critics have proclaimed the ambrotype to be inferior to its predecessor, the daguerreotype. It was, however, a cheaper and faster photographic process than the daguerreotype, which as a result, made it a popular choice of the general public. The ambrotype does share some of the similarities of the ...

Uses for a Ball Jar...continued.

Posted by: Karen Vincent on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 12:00:00 am

If you’ve been reading the blog, you’ve learned about a thermos with a Ball jar insert and a jar used to bury a pet canary. Here are two more uses for a Ball jar: Coffee Grinder The Landers, Frary and Clark Company was well known to the American housewife well before Ball made jars. This company made household products – toasters, meat choppers, sausage stuffers, bread makers, screw eyes and much more. Products from this company carried the trade name of “Universal.” Around 1900, Landers, Frary and Clark designed a coffee grinder to screw unto a fruit jar. A Ball jar marked “L.F. & C. Universal” was sold with ...

What is a Rain Garden?

Posted by: Stephanie Fisher on Monday, July 18, 2011 at 12:00:00 am

Storm water management and rain gardens go hand-in-hand. A rain garden allows rainwater to collect and soak naturally into the ground before it flows into the river. One of our big garden projects in 2011 has been the Rain Garden that runs along the White River Greenway.

Do you remember the Minnetrista Golf Course?

Posted by: Karen Vincent on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 12:00:00 am

Between 1923 and sometime in the 1950s, Minnetrista Golf Course existed on the current site of the Muncie Central High School athletic fields. Established as a gift from Frank C. Ball and Edmund B. Ball to the Muncie Y.M.C.A., the Minnetrista Golf Course was a public nine-hole course that was one of Muncie’s unique recreational facilities. According to Frank C. Ball, he “shot the first ball” at the dedication of the course.

Meet Theodore Bear, Collections expert

Posted by: Diane Barts on Monday, June 13, 2011 at 12:00:00 am

I bet you don’t know how museums keep track of all the terrific things people donate. I know I didn’t when I first came to Minnetrista in 1988. Since then I’ve learned a lot. In fact, I’ve learned so much that the collections staff asked me to introduce you to something they do every day – cataloging.