University of Southern Indiana

Historic Sites, Facilities, and Town Resources

Historic New Harmony Properties
Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites Properties
Robert Lee Blaffer Properties
Working Men's Institute
New Harmony Inn and Conference Center
Other Town Venues
Harmonie State Park
New Harmony Golf Cart Company
Accessibility

Historic New Harmony, a department within Outreach and Engagement at the University of Southern Indiana, maintains 26 buildings and 40 acres in New Harmony, Indiana.  Below are those sites maintained by Historic New Harmony and USI.

The Atheneum Visitors Center

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Designed by internationally acclaimed architect Richard Meier, the Atheneum has received numerous design awards, including the Progressive Architecture Award for 1979, the American Institute of Architects Award in 1982, and the Twenty-five Year Award in 2008. The stunning building, which serves as the Visitors Center for New Harmony, houses exhibits on the communal history of New Harmony, a large theater where an orientation film on the town is shown, and the Museum Shop. Many of the galleries, as well as the observation deck overlooking the town and the Wabash River, can be used for receptions, small meetings, and cocktail events.

The Atheneum is open daily March 15th- December 30, excluding Thanksgiving, Christmas 
Eve Day, Christmas Day, and Easter. New Harmony is located in the Central time zone.

401 N. Arthur Street
New Harmony, IN 47631
Hours: 9:30 AM–5 PM
Phone: 800.231.2168

Please contact Historic New Harmony at 812.682.4488, or harmony@usi.edu for availability.

Atheneum Floor Plan

Lease Agreement- Atheneum

Gallery of Contemporary Art

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The mission of New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art is to provide a not-for-profit (non-commercial) exhibition space for current Midwestern artists and to promote discourse about and access to contemporary art in the southern Indiana region. Since its inception in 1975, New Harmony Gallery has provided an exhibition space for young and mid-career artists to show their work in a professional setting; and further, to provide a venue for contemporary art to the general public. The cornerstone of the Gallery’s mission is education and access through a carefully planned series of eight exhibitions per year. The exhibition series, which explores contemporary art concepts, is intended to provide increased opportunity for artists and the public to engage in discourse on and about the arts and culture.

Gallery Website

Murphy Auditorium

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 In 1911, the Working Men's Institute purchased a lot adjacent to their museum/library with the purpose of building an auditorium. This project was funded through the Dr. Edward Murphy Fund. Today, USI's Murphy Auditorium continues to be used for conferences, concerts and lectures, and is home to University of Southern Indiana's New Harmony Theatre.

Please contact Historic New Harmony at 812.682.4488, or harmony@usi.edu for availability.

Lease agreement- Murphy Auditorium

Church Park

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Built on the original site of the two Harmonist churches, Church Park is a peaceful location in the center of the town. A fountain by noted sculptor Don Gummer sits in the middle of the formal gardens and the park is entered through a recreation of the Door of Promise, which welcomed Harmonists to their large brick church. It includes the Harmonist golden rose motif and inscription, "Micah 4 vs. 8." This inscription refers to the German Lutheran translation of the bible verse: "And thou Tower of Eden, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, the golden rose shall come, the former dominion, the Kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem."

Please contact Historic New Harmony at 812.682.4488, or harmony@usi.edu for availability.

Lease Agreement - Church Park

Schnee Ribeyre Elliott House

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Since David Michaelis Schnee, a saddle and harness maker, built the home on the southwest corner of West and Tavern streets in 1867, the home has been a rich part of New Harmony history. The home was sold to Corn King Captain Alfred Ribeyre in 1879, who later passed the home to his son Robert. Captain Ribeyre was a prominent farmer in the area, and he built many of the commercial structures still in use downtown. It was during the New Harmony Centennial in 1914 that former President Taft visited the home.

In 1925, the Ribeyre family sold the home to Elmer Elliott, who lived in the home until his death at age 100 in 1965. His daughter, Helen Elliott, then lived in the home until her death in 1982. She bequeathed the home to Historic New Harmony.The home has been fully restored and has housed the administrative offices of Historic New Harmony since 2006. It is available for parties and meetings.

Please contact Historic New Harmony at 812.682.4488, or harmony@usi.edu for availability.

Lease Agreement- Schnee Ribeyre Elliott House

The Double Log Cabin


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The Double Log Cabin was moved from another site. It was long considered the oldest structure in New Harmony, but is now known to be of more recent origin. The cabin illustrates frontier construction techniques in this area. Early community living demonstrations are available during special events and tours. Two rooms may be rented with a capacity for 30 people with limited seating. There is no electricity at this location.

Please contact Historic New Harmony at 812.682.4488, or harmony@usi.edu for availability.

Lease Agreement- Double Log Cabin

Beal House

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The house was built in 1829 by an English carpenter who came to New Harmony on the “Boatload of Knowledge” with his wife Roxie Ann and his daughter. John Beal (1797-1867) repaired several Harmonist buildings in 1828. He built this house out of existing materials from a Harmonist horse barn, using the English technique involving wattle-and-daub construction (weaving saplings between boards and filling them with mud). Like the Harmonists, Beal used sway braces and insulation in the ceilings.
Interior walls were spread with a mixture of mud, straw, ground shells and animal hair, and a tool was used to make grooved patterns to enable the plaster to adhere. Baseboards and chair rails
were applied directly to the mud before the plastering was done. Ceiling insulation is similar to the Harmonist Dutch biscuits. The room has original poplar flooring where you can see damage by insects.
This house is not the original building on this site; however, there was a house of similar size on this site. Beal’s second daughter Mary married a Slater and the Slater family, owners and publishers of The New Harmony Register, acquired the house. John Beal and his wife are buried in Maple Hill Cemetery.





 

Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites

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Community House No. 2

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Image used by permission of Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.

Constructed in 1822 by the Harmonists, a religious Utopian group from Germany, Community House No. 2 served as one of four large dormitories for men and women. After the Harmonists left the area in 1824, the building was integrated into the Owen-Maclure Utopian experiment and functioned as a school and living quarters for students and teachers. Once the Owen-Maclure community dissolved, the structure housed a variety of businesses, including a hotel, tavern, rooming house, print shop, cigar factory, hardware store, and tea room. The State of Indiana purchased the building in 1940.

Perfect for gatherings, the feast room features long tables and benches for meetings or meals. The third floor’s exposed walls and ceiling create a cozy loft atmosphere. The three floors are fully accessible.”

For rental information, please email Chris Laughbaum at chrisjksc@aol.com or call 812-682-3050.

 

Thrall's Opera House

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Image used by permission of Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.

Originally built by the Harmonists as the fourth and last dormitory, the building was completed shortly before they departed New Harmony in 1824. The Owen-Maclure community used the space for a variety of purposes, from a multi-family dwelling, to a warehouse, to a venue for hosting lectures and dances. In 1859, the structure was purchased by the New Harmony Dramatic Association and renamed Union Hall. The building was transformed into a theatre and was home to a famous local acting company, the Golden Troupe. In 1888, Eugene Thrall became the sole owner and the theatre was renamed Thrall’s Opera House. For a short time from 1911 to 1913, the Opera House was a nickelodeon movie house, and in 1914 was converted to a gas station and garage. In 1964, the space was purchased by the Harmonie Associates, who persuaded the State of Indiana to purchase, restore, and maintain the site.

Beautifully restored to its Victorian elegance, Thrall’s Opera House is ideal for weddings, receptions, reunions, concerts, meetings, conferences, and fundraising events. The venue can accommodate up to 161 guests theater-style and the first floor is fully accessible.”

For rental information, please email Chris Laughbaum at chrisjksc@aol.com or call 812-682-3050.”

Fauntleroy Home

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Image used by permission of Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.

The Fauntleroy Home was built in c. 1815-1820 by the Harmonists. In 1841, the home was sold to Robert Henry Fauntleroy and his wife Jane Dale Owen Fauntleroy. The Fauntleroys lived in the house with their four children Constance, Ellinor, Edward and Arthur.

In 1859, the parlor of the house became the birthplace of the Minerva Society, a literary club for women that was organized by Constance Fauntleroy. The house continued to remain in the Fauntleroy family until 1925 when it was sold to the Indiana Federation of Clubs to be maintained as a shrine to the Minerva Society. Later, in 1939 the Indiana Federation of Clubs gave the house to the State of Indiana to be preserved as a historic site.

The lovely grounds to this New Harmony landmark provide a picturesque setting for weddings or parties. The nearby weathered barn is a popular backdrop for photos.

For rental information, please email Chris Laughbaum at chrisjksc@aol.com or call 812-682-3050.

The Harmonist Cemetery

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Image used by permission of Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.

The Harmonists established the cemetery at the beginning of their settlement in New Harmony as the resting place for over 200 members who died due to the harsh conditions of their new frontier life. No headstones mark the graves of these early settlers because the society believed in the equality of all members in both life and death. The red brick wall surrounding the cemetery, while not original, was built in 1874 of bricks rescued from the old Harmonist brick church.

Also in the cemetery are several Native American mounds dating from the Middle Woodland Period, over two thousand years ago. These mounds were investigated by the Harmonists, and, during the Owen-Maclure period, by the artist and naturalist Charles Alexandre-Lesueur.

The Harmonist Labyrinth

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Labyrinths have been used over the centuries as a symbolic form of pilgrimage. The Harmonists built labyrinths in all three of their towns. The original Harmonist labyrinth consisted of shrubs and flowering plants such as currant and hazel bushes, dogwood trees, and a variety of flowers. The current labyrinth was constructed near the site of this original labyrinth in 1939 by the New Harmony Memorial Commission and recently reconfigured to reflect the original Harmonist layout.

The labyrinth has delighted visitors for decades, and is a gorgeous site for an intimate wedding or a garden party.

For rental information, please email Chris Laughbaum at chrisjksc@aol.com or call 812-682-3050.

 

Scholle House

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This c. 1820 house was the home of Harmonist shoemaker Matthew Scholle. The house sits on its original location, and is one of many single family dwellings built by the Harmonie Society.

The Scholle House features a changing exhibition gallery. The current exhibit is "Science on the Edge":

They explored new lands, discovered fantastic new animals, and recorded a changing Native American way of life. The pioneers of New Harmony were more than just scientists – they were voyagers uncovering the secrets of a newly-born country. Science on the Edge looks at this part of American history through the Indiana lens, when the United State was still young and unexplored frontier stretched west to the ocean.

This traveling exhibit from the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites is presented in New Harmony by the Rapp Granary-Owen Foundation.

Red Bud Park

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The park is located on the former location of Community House No. 3, also known as The Tavern.

The redbud trees bloom a brilliant purple in springtime. The park is situated in a quaint spot fitting for an outdoor concert or ceremony.

For rental information, please email Chris Laughbaum at chrisjksc@aol.com or call 812-682-3050.


Accessibility

Because so many of the facilities interpreted in Historic New Harmony date from the early 19th Century, some historic buildings present accessibility challenges for visitors with limited mobility. Please contact Historic New Harmony at 800.231.2168 for information on specific buildings, locations, or events.

 


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