Dani Tippmann to take reigns as director of Whitley County Historical Museum
(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano) Dani Tippmann was selected to serve as the new director of the Whitley County Historical Museum. Tippmann, above, standing near the Miami Indian exhibit in the museum's Annex Building, is eager to develop programming and enhanced hours to make the museum more accessible to families and working adults.
By Jennifer Zartman Romano
With family history in Whitley County that dates back to well before the first white settler’s arrived, Dani Tippmann’s interest in local history is as deeply rooted as her Miami Indian heritage.
So, it seems logical that Tippmann sought out the recently opened position of director at the Whitley County Historical Museum. And, with her lengthy resume of not only Native American experiences, but of regional history in general, Tippmann quickly rose to the top of the list of applicants for the role.
Tippmann, a 24-year resident of this county, is a descendant of Tecumwah, the sister of one of Whitley County’s most famous native sons, Chief Little Turtle.
“Whitley County history is so interesting,” Tippmann said. “My heart is here. Little Turtle’s birthplace was here.”
“From pre-European contact to now,” she said, “history is being created here.”
Always involved in local history, Tippmann has most recently served as a consultant to the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma’s office of cultural preservation. Tippmann is a long-time member of the Whitley County Historical Society, the Allen County History Center, the Mihsihkinaahkwa Pow Wow committee’s co-treasurer, served on the board of directors for the Little River Wetlands Project, the board of directors for the Miami Indian Alliance for Miami Indians, a member of the First Families of Whitley County, a member of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and is the chief interpreter for the Chief Richardville House in Waynedale. Additionally, she has served on the Miami Indian Council of Indiana for the past seven years.
Tippmann has a Bachelor’s Degree in general studies from Indiana-Purdue University at Fort Wayne.
Married for 29 years to her husband, Robert, the couple has ten children ranging in age from 8 on up to 28. When she’s not involved in family activities, Tippmann enjoys sewing Native American regalia for pow wows and is learning to quilt. An animal lover, Tippmann and her family are currently caring for a soldier’s dog while he serves in Iraq.
Tippmann speaks regularly around the state on traditional plant usage by the Miami people, expounding on the medicinal and technological uses of native plants. She recently was honored with an artist in residency award from the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis. This award, she said, “is quite an honor.”
Although her exact starting date has not been established, Tippmann believes she will take the reigns at the museum “very soon.”
In the past few weeks, since the retirement of past director Ruth Kirk, the museum has been in a constant state of update. The addition of new displays and the removal of old ones has been almost constant under the temporary guidance of historical society president Chuck Jones. But, as Tippmann’s first day on the job approaches, she already has a clear vision of changes that need to be made to take the museum forward.
“I am planning some more family-oriented programs and hours,” Tippmann said. “I’d like to see the museum open more hours that provide access to families and working adults.”
Tippmann also feels that it is important for docents – the museum’s volunteers – to be better educated about the various pieces in the museum and about local history so that they can better reach out to the community.
“I see more outreach to the community with the museum,” she said.
“If people understand their past,” she said, “they’ll have a better understanding of their future.”