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Indiana State Museum And Historic Sites

Corydon Capitol State Historic Site

Historic Indiana En Plein Air art show at Indiana State Museum

Indianas transition from a Western territory to a state is a fascinating time in Indiana history. To learn about this era, visit Indianas first state capitol in Corydon, a must-see on a tour of historic landmarks in Indiana. The Corydon Capitol State Historic Site commemorates many of the states most significant events, including the drafting of the first state constitution. The 43 delegates met to work out the details of the states founding, but the heat was so extreme they found it was cooler to meet outside. They drafted the Indiana Constitution under an enormous elm tree. Although the tree is gone, its stump remains. It is known as Constitution Elm. The stump is five feet in diameter. Indianas constitution was the first in the nation to ban slavery and mandate funding for public schools.

Eiteljorg Museum Of American Indians And Western Art: Indianapolis

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art features one of the finest collections of Native American art. Founded by Indianapolis businessman and philanthropist Harrison Eiteljorg, the Museum also collects and preserves cultural objects and art of the American West. Its collection includes artists like T.C. Cannon, N. C. Wyeth, Andy Warhol, Georgia OKeeffe, Allan Houser, Frederic Remington, Charles Russell and Kay WalkingStick. Special exhibitions have included the work of artist Ansel Adams, Jewish life in the West, and the intersecting experiences of African- and Native Americans. Guests can enjoy lectures, tours, film events and hosts Native artists in residence. The Museum is one of only two museums east of the Mississippi that explore both Native America and the American West.

Learn About The Science Behind The History

With artifacts to research and fossils to dig up, it takes a lot of science to study history. And thats especially true with natural history, which focuses on the flora and fauna of our planets environment. The Indiana State Museums team of scientists are all experts in geology, paleobiology, archeology, and much more. So, theres no better place to satisfy your curiosity!

At the R.B. Annis Naturalists Lab, you can learn from real scientists and discover how they study the world around us. They let your kids use technology just like a naturalist would and try their hands at real science experiments. Be sure to check out their collection of taxidermy animals and ancient fossils while youre there!

Out of all the sciences, Ice Age paleontology is one of the Indiana State Museums specialties. Currently, the museum has more mastodon and mammoth fossils from different locations than any other museum in the Midwest. One of their most iconic artifacts is Freda 13,000-year-old mastodon skeleton that lives in the museum!

The museums team also goes on archeological digs to the caves of southern Indiana. Down there, they hope to find more ancient Ice Age fossils to study. But you can see some of the fossils theyve already uncovered in the museum today!

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Alice Schloss Advisory Board Member

Alice Kingsbury Schloss is an Indianapolis native who has lived in Indianapolis most of her life. She also lived briefly in Newburgh during childhood, Massachusetts while attending Mount Holyoke College, Chicago as an intern for Red Cross Service to Military Families and Philadelphia for graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work. She and her husband Bob returned to Indianapolis in 1965 where they raised their two sons and a daughter. Though she received a Master of Social Work from IU School of Social Service, Alice has made a career of volunteer service in educational, cultural, medical and social issue organizations. Though no longer an activist, she supports such not-for-profits as a board member and philanthropist. Current board memberships other than the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites include the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the International Violin Competition, Herron School of Art and Design Advisory Board, and Eskenazi Health Foundation.

What Is There To Do

Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, Indianapolis

History is an amazing thing! Everywhere you walk, there are millions of years of history that happened right under your feet – and most of it you wouldn’t be aware of!

The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites gives the whole family a chance to delve into some of those amazing events that occurred right in the state of Indiana! The museum is located in White River State Park, which is in the lovely downtown Indianapolis.

It’s a great place for the kids to explore all about the past, present and future of the state – everything from mastodons to contemporary art! What an amazing educational experience!

Let’s take you on a journey through some of the exhibits that you will come across in the Indiana State Museum!

If you are on Level 1, you will encounter all things natural history – from geography, geology, and archaeology. Kids can go back in time and discover what the Ice Age would have been like, or where the Ancient Seas sat across the country.

It’s also where you will see some very cool fossils and skeletons of some of those amazing creatures that roamed the earth millions of years ago!

Jump up to Level 2 and you’re surrounded by culture and cultural history! From Abraham Lincoln all the way to RCA televisions and Civl War artifacts…it’s the history of the Hoosiers!

The Indiana State Museum frequently rotates the exhibits too, so there will always be something new to see when you head back on your next visit!

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Old City Hall Building

In 1962 Governor Matthew E. Welsh approved the resumption of the planning for a new state museum, but with a very different direction. The Indianapolis City Hall at 202 N. Alabama St. had become available in 1961 due to city government offices moving to the new City-County Building. The state and the city worked out an agreement for the museum to use the old building. The structure underwent extensive renovations to prepare it for life as a museum, at a cost of about $830,000. In 1967, the Indiana State Museum opened its doors in its first real home. It had four floors and a basement in which to develop exhibits, store and preserve collections, and provide office space for staff.

In 1969, the Indiana State Museum Society was established to provide a private, fund-raising support organization. Also in 1969, the Indiana State Museum Volunteer Organization was established to assist the small museum staff. By 1976, the museum had received accreditation from the American Association of Museums, now known as the American Alliance of Museums.

As years passed and the collection grew, the old City Hall became too small to meet the needs of the institution. Proposals were made in the late-1970s and mid-1980s for a variety of additions to the facility. Some involved purchasing nearby buildings and others involved creating brand-new facilities that would connect to the old City Hall building.

Indiana State Museum And Historic Sites

The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites preserves, interprets and presents material evidence of Indianas cultural and natural history in a context that encourages people to actively participate in discovering the worldas it was, as it is, and as it can be. The museum displays permanent collections that tell Indianas story and celebrate the states achievements features a dynamic schedule of changing exhibitions performs critical research and preservation of artifacts and offers extensive public and educational programming. From its central location in downtown Indianapolis, the Indiana State Museum presents the Indiana experience in its wider national and global context.

The Indiana State Museum began in 1869 as a diverse collection of artifacts, natural history specimens, and Civil War memorabilia housed in various locations including the State House and the old City Hall. A new, 270,000 square foot museum facility and IMAX Theater opened in White River State Park in 2002. Constructed of Indiana limestone, sandstone, steel, brick and glass, the museum has 75,000 square feet of exhibition space, including a multi-level core exhibition featuring the permanent collection and four temporary exhibition galleries. From the soaring Governor Frank OBannon Grand Lobby showcasing Robert Indianas INDIANA obelisk to the 92 pieces of sculpture in the buildings fa├žade representing each of the states counties, the building itself is a work of art.

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Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site: Indianapolis

History buffs will enjoy a trip to the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site in Indianapolis, another Presidential stop among the historic landmarks in Indiana. Benjamin Harrison was a senator from Indiana, grandson of a former president and then a two-term president himself. Harrison lived in a 16-room house with a brick exterior, which was built in the 1870s. The home has historical significance because Harrison began his famous Front Porch Campaign for the presidency from his Indianapolis house. Harrison traveled the United States during the 1888 campaign, speaking to crowds in the street. Harrison renovated the home and added electricity after his term as president was over. He died at the home in 1901.

Today visitors can see ten of the 16 rooms, which have been decorated in the Victorian style popular during Harrisons life. Nearly of the objects in the home belonged to the Harrison family, including the 2,440 books. Researchers can access the archives of the Daughters of the American Revolution, which are also featured at the site.

Mounds State Park: Anderson

Levi Coffin SHS Visitor Center Groundbreaking Ceremony

Mounds State Park in Anderson is an amazing Indiana historical landmark. The park includes 10 ceremonial mounds built by the prehistoric Adena peoples, and later used by the local Hopewell Native Americans. The earthworks include three enormous ceremonial mounds Fiddleback, Great Mound and Circle Mound, and many rectangular and circular enclosures. Native peoples populated this area of Indiana for thousands of years, but experts believe the mounds were created in around 250 BC, with most work completed in 50 AD. That makes them older than world historical sites such as the Roman Colosseum. The site includes a Nature Center that has animal displays, a wildlife viewing room, games and other exhibits. Visitors enjoy the many events throughout the year, such as Audubon Society walks, scavenger hunts, geocaching treks and adventure backpacking.

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The Innovative Approach Behind The Utopian Communities

New Harmony is the site of not just one, but two early American utopian communities. The Harmony Society, led by George Rapp, arrived in the United States in 1804 and settled in Pennsylvania before purchasing 20,000 acres on the Wabash River and moving to Indiana in 1814. The Harmonists were religious Separatists from Germany who pursued Christian perfection through every aspect of their daily conduct. They sold New Harmony to Robert Owen in 1825, and he, along with his business partner William Maclure, hoped to establish a model community where education and social equality would flourish. Visit New Harmony State Historic Site to tour the many historic buildings, and even get a look at the innovative approach behind the Harmonists original construction techniques.

A New Type of Community

The Harmonists believed that Christs second coming was imminent. They pursued Christian perfection through every aspect of their daily conduct and created a highly ordered and productive community. Between 1814 and 1824, the Harmonists constructed more than 180 log, frame and brick structures. The community was entirely self-sufficient and produced a wide variety of goods that were traded as far away as New Orleans, Pittsburgh and even overseas.

A New Direction

A Community Ends

Continuing a Legacy through preservation

William A Browne Jr Chair

William Browne, Jr., is the president and founding principal of RATIO Architects. Since establishing RATIO more than 30 years ago, Bill has led the expansion of the firm to four studio locations in Indianapolis, Chicago, Illinois, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Champaign, Illinois, a growing national body of expertise, and an international presence with work in Korea, China and Malaysia. Many of the firms most significant projects are located close to its home state of Indiana, including the expansion of the NCAA Headquarters, the Big Ten Conference Headquarters, the Indiana Convention Center, the Childrens Museum of Indianapolis, the Notre Dame Stadium Master Plan, numerous higher education facilities, and of course, the Indiana State Museum. Bill is an active member of the Indianapolis community, currently serving as president of the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission. Bill also is involved with the White River State Park Commission, the Marian University Cycling Advisory Board, the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, the American Institute of Architects and Indiana Landmarks. He was a member of the 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee.

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Falls Of The Ohio State Park: Clarksville

One of the key ancient historical sites in Indiana is Falls of the Ohio River State Park, where 390-million-year-old fossil beds contain some of the largest, naturally exposed, Devonian fossil beds in the world. The Interpretive Center overlooks the beds and includes an exhibit gallery and video presentation about the geological history of the area. Originally the Falls were a series of rapids over the Ohio River, but today the original falls are behind the McAlpine Dam. Visitors to the park can enjoy viewing fossils, hiking, fishing, bird-watching and picnicking. The park is open 363 days a year.

The Indiana State Museum Tells The Story Of Indianas History

Downtown Indy

Ready to brush up on your Hoosier history? The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites is an interactive, hands-on experience that gets your kids excited to learn. Whether youre exploring ancient oceans or pioneer cabins, each exhibit paints a picture of the past with engaging activities for all ages.

At White River State Park, the Indiana State Museum walks you through Indiana historyfrom Earths beginning to our modern-day innovations. The museum has a vast collection of over 500,000 objects and artifacts like mastodon fossils and Native American art. So, you can explore three floors of one-of-a-kind galleries that teach your kids about geology, paleontology, and natural history.

And once youre back from the past, you can learn about todays history-in-the-making with the museums rotating exhibits. Unlike some history museums, the Indiana State Museum shows how our past impacts the present. The museum has recently featured exhibits on feminist art activism, Indianas local biodiversity, and overcoming the opioid crisis.

Museums are a place to have big conversations about ways we can all influence the present and future. Museums should broaden perspectives through real stories and artifacts, and they should also address the topics of today that are relevant to visitors.

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Robin Winston Advisory Board Member

A native of Pennsylvania, Robin Winston is a graduate of the University of Louisville. He has served as a Chief of Staff in government and is the former Chair of the Indiana Democratic Party during the term of Governor Frank OBannon. Now a successful businessman in Indianapolis, he runs one the largest minority-owned government-affairs, community-relations and public-outreach firms in the nation. Robin is a life member of the NAACP. In addition, he is a political analyst for CBS4 and FOX59.

Check Out These Historical Landmarks In Indiana To Explore Year

The Hoosier state is chock-full of fascinating historical sites from every era of history even prehistoric! Although history can seem dry when it is presented in history books, it comes alive when tourists have the chance to explore real historic landmarks in Indiana on the very places where history was made. From exploring ancient Indian Mounds in Anderson to visiting the elk tree where Indianas Constitution was written in historic Corydon, exciting adventures await you in every corner of Indiana. Heres a look at 11 great historic sites in Indiana to visit.

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Eugene V Debs House And Museum: Terre Haute

Visitors of Indiana State University can visit the Indiana historical home of American labor leader Eugene V. Debs. The Museum commemorates his life and work as the founder of the Industrial Workers of the World and explores his legacy as a Socialist candidate for president five times between 1900 and 1920. Visitors will learn about Debs advocacy for workers rights, childrens rights, womens rights, and the cause of worldwide peace. Debs has had a lasting impact on the lives of American workers, dating from his time at the helm of the American Railway Union and continuing to his death in 1926. The home was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

A Look Around New Harmony

Showcasing Black history at Indiana State Museum

Spend an afternoonor an entire weekendexploring this visionary community, featuring restored 19th-century theaters, print houses and more.

Explore a restored Opera House

Thralls Opera House has served a variety of purposes throughout its lifetime, starting as a dormitory in 1824 and eventually becoming a warehouse, multi-family dwelling, a dance hall and more. The structure was transformed into an opera house in 1888, serving as home to the Golden Troupewhich included singing comedienne Frances Golden, who entertained troops during WWI. Explore the restored theater and learn all about the Golden Troupe for yourself during a visit!

Wander through 20,000 ACRES OF PERFECTION

Robert Owen purchased the town of Harmony, which later became known as New Harmony, in 1825. Owen purchased the 20,000 acres from George Rapp with plans to establish a model community where education and social equality would flourish, but Owens Community of Equality dissolved by 1827. Still, Owens Utopian dream brought many contributions to American scientific and educational theory, study and practice that continue to affect Indiana even today.

Experience a Dizzying Amount of Fun

Planted in concentric circles of manicured privet hedge, this reconstructed Harmonist labyrinth evokes the serenity and peacefulness the Utopians were seeking. Large shade trees bordering one end of the lot provide a perfect canopy for garden parties and weddings, with the labyrinth gracing the background.

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Leora Brown School: Corydon

Despite laws after the Civil War which required segregated schools, Indianas African American community was determined to create institutions of learning. The Corydon Colored School of Corydon, Indiana was one of the first African American schools, with its first class graduating in 1897. One of its graduates, Leora Brown, went on to receive a degree at Blakers Teachers College of Indianapolis. She then returned to Corydon to teach at her former school, where she remained for 26 years, until the end of segregation. Browns descendants have restored the school and named it in her honor. The one-room structure, built in 1891, remains Indianas oldest African American elementary and secondary school. Today it acts as both a historical site and cultural center. A section of the original blackboard still stands. The site is a must for any visitor to Indianas First State Capitol.

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