From Connecticut to Missouri to Indiana
The Mansion that houses the Haan Museum was originally the Connecticut State building at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. The state wanted their pavilion to represent a gentleman's country home. Many components of the building were taken from the 1760 Hubbard-Slater Mansion in Norwich, including the front entryway, various interior columns, and door capitals.
The mansion was designed and built with the intent to be auctioned off and moved after the World's Fair. It was dismantled and moved to Lafayette, Indiana by rail to be reassembled as the personal residence of Mr. and Mrs. William Potter. There are only 15 buildings surviving from the 1904 Fair, and the Haan Mansion is most true to its original design and purpose of the 13 buildings removed from the grounds.
The mansion has three above-ground floors and a full basement, totaling 16,000 square feet. It also includes seven fireplaces, six bedrooms, and 5 1/2 bathrooms.
The Accidental Museum
In 1984, Bob and Ellie Haan purchased the mansion that was then known as the Potter Mansion. It was their personal residence, where they raised their three sons. In 1992, they started an intensive restoration of the building, and at the same time, began amassing an amazing collection of Indiana art. After they realized they had a museum-quality art collection, they decided to upgrade their antique furniture to the best of American furniture, mostly from the Renaissance Revival period of 1860-1890.
In 2013, while they still lived in the building, they started offering tours. In 2014, they decided to enhance their collection with ceramics by Indiana artists. They researched and traveled to the top studios and MFA programs around the state, and by the end of that same year, they had assembled a significant collection of major ceramic pieces.
In 2015, they created the nonprofit Haan Museum of Indiana Art, and moved out of the mansion to a new home. They donated the building and grounds to the museum, along with much of the artwork. Their generosity and vision will now allow the museum to develop into a cultural institution that can serve many future generations of Hoosiers.
Today the Haan Museum is managed by a dedicated board of directors and small staff, a passionate team of volunteers, and supporters that make everything possible.