Located within the renowned White River State Park in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Indiana State Museum is the perfect location for people who are interested in learning about Indiana’s historical and cultural significance throughout the ages.



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The Indiana State Museum’s history dates back to 1862. R. Deloss Brown, Indiana’s State Librarian, found an interest within collecting geographic sentiments of Indiana, such as minerals. Brown kept this collection within his cabinet. A few years late, in 1869, an official preservation law of geological and mineralogical collections as created by the Indiana General Assembly. An unnamed state geologist became the Indiana State Museum’s first employee during that year, and organized Brown’s extensive collection.

Although the Indiana State Museum’s permanent collection was initially displayed within a room in the State Capitol Building, it frequently moved locations. This was largely due to the museum’s extensive collection. It wasn’t until 1945, when newly elected governor, Ralph H. Gates, decided to establish a plan that would create an innovative and modern museum for the current collection and collections to come.

Although Gates was instrumental in creating a plan for a new museum site, his plan was never carried out. This was partially due to the fact that Gates could not find an adequate site for the museum he had in mind. When he found an adequate site, the price tag rung high at approximately $3 million. Gates’ successors battled the same conflicts. But, in 1962 Governor Matthew E. Welsh found the perfect location within the Indianapolis City Hall. After renovating the location, the Indiana State Museum officially opened its first real location in 1967.

But, the Indiana State Museum faced the same space issues it did within its early years. And soon enough, its location proved to be too small. So, the Indiana State Museum began renovating its current location in White River State Park during the end of the summer of 1999. The museum officially opened its doors on May 22, 2002. Since then, the Indiana State Museum continues to actively search for ways it can expand the use of its space and collections.



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The Indiana State Museum has a variety of core galleries that are spread out among two levels.

Level 1 features a concentration of Indiana’s natural history. A combination of prized artifacts and fun and interactive activities enables visitors to explore Indiana’s history within archaeology, geography, and paleontology.

Level 2 showcases the cultural history of Indiana throughout the ages. Some of the highlighted areas of concentration within this permanent attraction includes; a history about Abraham Lincoln, Stutz automobiles, RCA televisions, and Indiana’s significance within the Civil War.

The Indiana State Museum provides visitors with a new experience each time they visit through their extensive collection of special attractions. Like any other renowned museum, check out Indiana State Museum’s website for an updated list of current special attractions.

Lincoln’s Mallet showcases the multi-functional mallet that was owned by Abraham Lincoln. Initially, this mallet was used as a way to create fencing split-rails. But, the mallet head split in half. Instead of throwing it away, Lincoln decided to reuse the mallet by crafting it into a bench mallet. This attraction will be on display until December 31, 2016.

Design Zone is a new attraction that enables visitors to see the fundamentals and logistics that go into the creative process of creating innovative cultural objects including video games and roller coasters. You can explore the Design Zone until January 8, 2017.

Indiana in 200 Objects gives visitors a glimpse into everything Indiana related and significant within 200 objects. This exhibit as created on the basis that Indiana is celebrating its 200th year as a state. This exhibit will be displayed until January 29, 2017.

The Indiana State Museum has various educational opportunities for people of all ages. While the Indiana State Museum offers adult programs, most of their educational opportunities ae geared towards children. One of their programs is called the Educational Trunk. Teachers have the opportunity of renting a trunk that includes a variety of artifacts, books, and activities that are relevant to Indiana for up to two weeks. Thus, this is the perfect educational initiative for schools who do not have the opportunity of visiting the Indiana State Museum.

Aside from school based educational opportunities, the Indiana State Museum offers workshops, performances, and even theater productions to the general community.

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650 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204, Phone: 317-232-1637

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