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Winona History Center Receives Grant to Create Sunday Home Digital Project

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The Winona History Center in Winona Lake, Indiana, was one of 18 libraries, schools, and museums to receive grants from Indiana Humanities and Indiana Landmarks this spring. The History Center, which is owned and operated by Grace College, has received an Historic Preservation Education Grant of up to $1,700 to create an interactive digital tour of the Billy and Helen Sunday Home for those unable to access the building.

The exterior of the Billy Sunday Home.

“Funding a wide range of thoughtful and creative programming that connects so many Hoosiers to the depth and breadth of the humanities is core to our mission,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “We are encouraged every year by the innovative programs proposed by the grantees and the opportunity to touch the lives of residents all over Indiana.”

The project, which is being developed by museum director Dr. Mark Norris and museum coordinator Karen Birt, will produce an interactive map on an iPad of the layout of the second floor of the Billy and Helen Sunday Home, making it accessible to the mobility challenged. Users will be able to click on the artifacts pictured in each room and receive audio, visual or textual provenance of the artifact.

The project will allow Sunday Home visitors to interact with the home, which is located at 1111 Sunday Lane, about four blocks from the Winona History Center in Westminster Hall on the Grace College campus.

A layout that includes all the rooms on the second floor will appear on the homepage. When the user clicks on a specific room, a picture of that room and its artifacts will appear. Clicking on a particular artifact will reveal audio, video, or text of the provenance of that artifact. Much of the audio and text will be from primary sources, including audio of Helen Sunday herself describing the items in the home.

The interior of the Billy Sunday Home.

The Sunday Home, built in 1911, is an historic Arts and Crafts building with original furniture and artifacts from the early twentieth century. Built on a hillside, the house’s main entrance is accessible by outside stairs only. Inside the building, the second floor, which is replete with original artifacts, is also accessible only by stairs. This interactive map project will digitally preserve the history of the Sunday Home, a landmark building in Winona Lake.

Dr. Mark Norris, director of the museum, said, “Creating an interactive digital map of a recognized small-town Arts and Crafts home will help to protect and share a local Winona Lake historical resource that will otherwise remain inaccessible to many visitors. The project will also digitally preserve images and primary sources describing the home and its contents. This map will bring more awareness and visibility to the community of the home of what was one of the most famous Midwestern couples in the early twentieth century.”

Billy Sunday, born in Iowa in 1862, first became known as a major league baseball player, but later turned to evangelism. Already well-known and popular on the evangelism circuit, he decided to relocate from Chicago to Winona Lake in 1911 with his wife, Helen, and four children. They built the Arts and Crafts bungalow, named Mount Hood, on the site where it is preserved today.

The script has been written, is now being edited, and will be recorded, along with the filming of the house’s upper level, during the fall of 2019. Tentative plans call for introduction of the digital map at an evening presentation for the public in the Winona History Center sometime in January or February of 2020. The iPad will then be placed in the Winona History Center for use by the public and later plans call for posting it on the center’s website for greater accessibility.

The Winona History Center and the Billy Sunday Home are open and staffed by volunteers 2-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday of most weeks (closed Sunday and Monday). For more information, visit or the Winona History Center Facebook page.

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