SullivanMunce Cultural Center Celebrates 50th Anniversary!

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Oct/Nov 2023

It is with great enthusiasm that Zionsville Monthly is sharing with our readers SullivanMunce Cultural Center’s plans to celebrate 50 years of being the “greater Zionsville and Boone County area’s primary destination for the exploration of and engagement with history and the arts.”

We hope you will mark your calendars and join us on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. for this special celebration at the SullivanMunce Cultural Center at 225 West Hawthorne Street in Zionsville. Don’t miss this historic and jubilant affair! Purchase your tickets and RSVP at

An Evening Filled with Community, Reflection and Exploration

Attendees of this joyous event will enjoy activities, refreshments and entertainment throughout the evening that include tours of the art center, genealogy library, exhibits and historical collections. There will be a short program highlighting the past 50 years and a glimpse into the future plans for SullivanMunce. To top off the celebratory evening, there will be a silent auction and birthday cake!

SullivanMunce Executive Director and local artist Cynthia Young shared some of her thoughts about the upcoming event.

“The opening of the Patrick Henry Sullivan Museum was held in June of 1973,” Young said. “The Munce Art Center opened in 1981. At our event, we will have information on all of the founding [foundation] members and on the board members over the years. We’ll also talk about the major donors throughout the years, and, of course, we’ll talk about the [SMCC] Guild. The guild is responsible for our fundraising events such as the Garden Tour and the annual bake sale. We’ll also talk about our programming and all of the events that we’ve had over the years. And we’ll pay tribute to our volunteers, past and present, because we couldn’t have done any of these events and programs without our volunteers. For example, we need 60 to 80 volunteers every year for GhostWalk, and [for] the Gardens of Zionsville event, we use about 50 to 60 volunteers. It’s a high number of volunteers that have worked with us over the years.”

Not Just A Local Amenity, but an Asset to Everyone!

Today, the SullivanMunce Cultural Center is home to the P.H. Sullivan Museum, which hosts many longstanding traditions and programs such as the Third Grade History [tours], GhostWalk, the guild’s annual Gardens of Zionsville, Bake Sale and Victorian Tea events, exhibits, its historical collection, and public meeting space.

The Munce Art Center offers a variety of art classes, summer art camps, workshops, exhibits and the annual Zionsville Paint Out event. It also houses a gift shop featuring an array of handcrafted gifts and other delightful treasures.

And for those not familiar with SullivanMunce’s impressive Zionsville Genealogy Library, this institution offers workshops, research, ancestry, access to FamilySearch, newspapers, maps, obituaries and other archival tools to aid in one’s genealogical journey.

Young added, “People come in from all over for our genealogical services. Sometimes, they have just found out that part of their family is from Zionsville or was buried here. Some people who grew up in Zionsville are researching their family, and we have a big section in the genealogy library of Zionsville families. We also have access to and we are an affiliate library of FamilySearch. So, if you’re using FamilySearch at home and there’s something you can’t open because it says you need to go to an affiliate library, that would be us. We also have”

SullivanMunce Cultural Center’s Founding Facts

*Information provided by David G. Ruffer’s “SullivanMunce Cultural Center: A Historic Review”

-The Patrick Henry Sullivan Foundation and Museum began in the 1950s as an idea in the mind of Zionsville native and Washington, D.C. resident Iva Etta Sullivan.

SullivanMunce Cultural Center Celebrates 50th

-It became a reality in 1966 with her death and the formation of the Foundation Board, and further in 1973 when the museum building became a reality.

-The concept was expanded in 1976 when the board accepted the bequest from Mary Elizabeth Hopkins Munce, in 1981 with the opening of the Munce Art Center, and with subsequent facility expansions.

-Iva Etta Sullivan, Mary Elizabeth Hopkins Munce, Sparkle Moore Furnas, Mildred Ogborn, and Marjorie J. Van Tassel were major benefactors.

-In her Last Will and Testament dated April 6, 1962, Iva Etta Sullivan created the Patrick Henry Sullivan Trust, which was to be funded upon her death with proceeds from her estate.

-The Patrick Henry Sullivan Foundation was incorporated on December 18, 1969.

-In 1971, the board appointed Josephine Ford as curator of the museum and its primary operating officer, a position she held until 1984.

-In 1972, the SullivanMunce Cultural Center Guild was formed. Early in her tenure as curator, Josephine Ford realized the need for volunteers who could assist with museum operations and sought to establish a volunteer guild.

-Since 2003, the museum, genealogy library, and art center have been known collectively as the SullivanMunce Cultural Center (SMCC).

-Since 2009 (and to pursue more diverse funding sources), SMCC has operated under Zionsville Center for Art History and Genealogy, a 501(c)(3) organization. 

-At the end of 2022, the center’s name was legally changed to SullivanMunce Cultural Center, Inc. 

Vision Statement

“Unique among cultural centers, SullivanMunce is the primary destination in greater Zionsville and the Boone County area for the exploration of and engagement with history and the arts.”

Community Outreach

Zionsville Farmers Market – Community Art Making Booth

Zionsville Parks & Recreation

  • Zionsville Greenfest Community Art Making, which supports environmental and green practices.
  • Zionsville Paint Out (Arts in the Park). We work with Zionsville Parks Department to engage the public in arts projects in the local parks.
  • Zionsville Butterfly Trail: Butterfly Wings Photo Op around Zionsville. We help the Zionsville Parks Department seek artists of all ages to paint butterfly wings that will be displayed around town. We also display a pair of wings on our grounds.
  • Nature Play Days. Nature Play Days are in June and are a statewide endeavor to engage youth with the outdoors. We provide outdoor art activities for youth in our area.

Zionsville Community

  • We provide meeting space to over 20 civic and non-profit groups in the community through our Use of Space program.
  • We provide restroom access for the Zionsville Farmers Market in the summer.
  • Zionsville Community Schools. We partner with Zionsville Community Schools for both history and arts education and Youth Art Month.
  • Zionsville Cultural District (ZCD). We work with ZCD in an advisory capacity to elevate arts and culture in Zionsville while also providing meeting space for them.

Founding Leadership:



Berger, Betty

Bradley, Wayne

Breese, Corinne

Dyer, Danny

Finley, Carol

Fix, Sam

Ford, Josephine

Hackleman, John

Haines, James

Hanshew, Willard

Harmon, Walter

Keith, Jackson

Leamnson, George

Leamnson, Marjorie

Lyons, Clarice

Martha Frances

McDowell, Barbara

McKamey, Thomas

Miller, Gail

O’Neil, Jr., James T

Parks, Marjorie

Rector, Barbara

Ross, Mack

Schuetz, Katherine

Shaw, George Russell

Shelburne, Tanay

Spees, Jerri


(Other than Directors)

Charles R. Cruse

Sherman Johnsen

H. Roll McLaughlin

Carolynne Miller

Esther Shelburne


H. Roy Martin


Richard Sampson


Josephine Ford


Charles Curse, President

Walter Harmon, Vice Chair

Kay Schuetz, Secretary/Treasurer

Sam Fix, Publicity