Julia Meek Gaar is best known as the founder of the Wayne County Historical Museum, for whom the museum was earlier named. A wealthy society matron, she traveled extensively throughout the world and collected art and cultural items along the way. When her apartment became too full she displayed some of the art in the newly opened art gallery in Morton High School, and as her collection of objects continued to grow, she sought a new facility in which to house it. The Wayne County Historical Society, of which Mrs. Gaar was the president, acquired the former Hicksite Meeting House on North A between 11th and 12th Streets and established the Historical Museum. She worked tirelessly for the rest of her life in and for the museum, and in 1940 the county renamed the museum The Julia Meek Gaar Wayne County Historical Museum.
In addition to her museum work, she was active in the Indiana Historical Society, serving as its director from 1936-1944, and was one of three vice-presidents of the Tri-State Museums Association. She was a charter member of the Richmond chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and was active in the Women’s Club and Tourist Club.