Collection History                                                                         

In 1896, the Elkhart County Historical Society (ECHS) was created with the intent to preserve “artifacts, writings and memories” that illustrated local history.  Immediately the organization began collecting objects and documents to interpret the people and localities who settled here as pioneers.  Initially the collections were managed by the County School Superintendent, George W. Ellis, and stored in a display case within his office.  Soon after the collection outgrew this location and was maintained in the City of Goshen Offices.

From 1907 to 1936 the collections were held in the basement of the Elkhart County courthouse and again maintained by the County School Superintendent.  In 1936 the county ordered the ECHS to move the collection from the courthouse basement to a building behind and owned by the Goshen’s Carnegie Library.  The collection was displayed here until 1961 when the Goshen Library re-occupied the house.  During this period the collection was moved into storage areas at Goshen’s Junior High School. 

In 1968 the museum moved into its current location in the former Bristol High School. The Elkhart County Historical Museum maintains a vast collection of 30,000 objects and over 100,000 documents in a state of the art climate controlled facility. The community library and reading room contains more than a 1,000 books and offers a pleasant environment to conduct research.

For more information on conducting research and accessing our collections please browse the links available.