GREENSBURG — To help while away the cold days of winter, the Decatur County Historical Society Museum, 222 N. Franklin Street, Greensburg, is offering three separate dates for patrons to spend afternoons experiencing board and card games from bygone eras.

From 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 18, Feb. 22, and March 21, the Historical Society Museum will be open for families to enjoy and learn about games from throughout history.

For example, many don’t know the true history of “Chinese Checkers” – that the game has nothing to do with checkers, that it has an American pedigree, or that it’s of German origin.

Originally marketed as “Hop-Ching Checkers” in the United States, the game of marbles came from Germany where it was invented in 1892 and called “Stern-Halma” for “star,” denoting the strange star-shaped playing board.

Sterm-Halma was originally based on an 1883 game called “Halma,” which was based on the early 1854 game of “Hoppity” because of the hopping movements of the marbles around the star shaped board.

Many don’t realize that the game of checkers dates back to 3000 B.C and that chess was invented in the 6th Century.

On display are the interesting and historic games of “Errand Boy,” a game from 1891 guaranteed to “make each player an honorable and respected banker and a good citizen;” “Pirate and Traveler,” a 1911 game for players to travel the world gathering riches until time for each player to “pirate” everyone’s riches for their own’ and “Black Beauty” from 1958, a game about the famous ebony steed of movie fame.

“We always do a program like this in the winter months. Last year, we did cartoons, so I was digging through a closet of stuff I played with as a kid and I got the idea of doing as programs on old games. It’s a good way to spend a snowy afternoon with the family at the museum,” said Historical Society Museum Executive Director Carrie Schumaker.

The Decatur County Historical Society Museum is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, January through March.

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-663-3111, ext 217011 or email

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