Town on Fire 2020

Welcome to Town on Fire, an exploration of Hoosier and Muncie women’s history during the Gilded Age and Progressive Eras (1870-1900 and 1900-1929 CE). This project was made in collaboration with the Delaware County Historical Society in Muncie, Indiana; the Ball State University History Department; the Ball State University Libraries; and the Notable Women of Muncie and Delaware County Project. 

This exhibition explores Gas Boom Muncie (1870-1920 CE) from the perspectives of six women-citizens. Their lives ​offer a window into the history of this Midwestern American city, when women's labor and civic roles were rapidly expanding due to industrialization and urban reform movements. Too often individual women and their perspectives are underappreciated in modern historical research. Yet these women show how the Progressive Era's diverse groups lived side-by-side: different races and religions, socio-economic and familial statuses, and politics and value systems. The view they offer us of turn-of-the-century Muncie is complex, but its value is found in that complexity. 

Feel free to move through the exhibition in order or explore at your own pace. 

Click “Introduction” to begin. 

Banner Image Caption: Muncie, Indiana: 1884, 1884. 

97deaef091c9870ee8a0b87dbc68fe3a.png e69b6fe5081e62505b28f761c14fd110.png 560aa76c6576970b4d63a6c7f12e4bde.jpg