In 1887, the Ball family—makers of the famous Ball mason jars—moved their glass manufacturing business from Buffalo, New York to Muncie, Indiana. The Ball brothers (pictured) and their families left a lasting impression on the Muncie community, creating philanthropic organizations (like Ball Brothers Foundation and George & Frances Ball Foundation), an educational institution (Ball State University), and the year-round gathering place of Minnetrista.
The current site of Minnetrista is located on the same property where the Ball family lived. In fact, many of the original Ball family homes stand today; all but one of the brothers’ homes are still standing and they make for a beautiful walk along the Boulevard, and a few are open to the public for various programs and events.
Due to its location along the White River, the family chose to name the property Minnetrista, meaning “a gathering place by the water.” The name is derived from the Sioux word “mna” (pronounced “mini”), which means “water,” and the English word “tryst.”
The origin of Minnetrista as we know it today—a cultural museum and public gathering place—dates back to 1978, when Margaret Ball Petty wrote to her cousin Edmund F. Ball, suggesting that the Ball Brothers Foundation provide a museum in which to exhibit fine art. A four-year study of the cultural needs of East Central Indiana determined that top priority should be given to the construction of a state-of-the-art facility to preserve the cultural heritage of the region. Ground was broken March 14, 1987 and Minnetrista Cultural Center opened December 10, 1988.
Stop by and check out the large collection of Ball Canning Jars on display at Minnetrista.
Download the guide