As a teen, Mary Figueroa won second place at the Omni Grove Park Inn National Gingerbread House Competition™ - one of the nation's most celebrated and competitive holiday events. Her entry in that competition involved a train and three different houses. She has also won prizes for a gingerbread log cabin and a Conner Prairie historical interpretation.
At IU Libraries' Wylie House by Candlelight, no prizes were awarded, but for this 2018 Indiana University graduate, the satisfaction of bridging her love of history to her love of all things gingerbread was more than enough reward.
"I spent about fifty hours on this house, and that is actually not a lot in the gingerbread world," Mary said.
After three years of internship and employment at the Wylie House, Mary was very familiar with the outline of the historic 1835 structure. She also knew just where to go for complete assurance of accuracy - using many photos of the house exterior from the Wylie House collections.
In addition to her wildly successful gingerbread house presentation - children at the popular event loved adding their own creations - Mary is also celebrating her very recent acceptance to IU's Master of Library Science program through the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. She credits this next adventure to her time at the Wylie House.
"I want to work in a museum doing research. I have done a couple of exhibits here and worked with the archive. It's my favorite thing to be doing right now," she said.