PINE VILLAGE, Ind. (WLFI) - In a small town in Warren County lies a museum of historical American artifacts. From old navy uniforms, to presidential figurines, to even an original newspaper print from the eighteen hundreds, you are bound to find some unique pieces.
Darlene Schutter, the owner of the space in Pine Village, originally ran it as an antique shop. She told us that many of her family members were historians and collected all types of historical and political memerobilia for decades. On November twenty second, we accepted Darlene's invitation to visit the collector's space. This day officially marked the space's opening to the public as a museum.
Kristie McFatridge, one of the co-founders of the museum, called the opening the "We The People" social gathering.
"Just wanted to bring people together in the community, in surrounding communities, just to get together, get to know people, reach out to people, and just go that route."
Upon arrival, we found out that the space is not only referred to as a museum, but rather the "American Patriot Headquarters". McFatridge shared that starting in December, they will have monthly gatherings for what she calls "fellow patriots" to discuss all topics including the study of the constitution, advocating for your first and second amendment rights, getting involved in local government, and pro-choice advocacy for vaccines.
When asked what it means to her to be a "patriot," McFatridge said, "To me being a patriot means that you're proud of the history no matter what what it was and that you use your freedoms that you have: the right to vote, right to speak your mind, right to religion, you can go to church, you can do whatever you want."
As we looked around the headquarters, we saw not only historical memorobilia but also handouts, newsletters, and posters of information they believe to be true that we have not yet independently verified.
When we asked about the side of American history that involved slavery or racial-based aggressions, and if that was also considered something they were proud of, as we found many examples of this around the headquarters, McFatridge told us this:
"Well they abolished slavery and they've moved on and I wouldn't say I'd be proud of it, but it's part of the past."
The group hopes they can create community in a way where they can exchange ideas and hope their beliefs and experiences can be heard as well.
According to the American Patriot Headquarters, the meetings are open to people of all political parties.