Located in Indianapolis, the Indiana Historical Society is home to an extensive historical experience that will make visitors enthusiastic about history. The Indiana Historical Society experience is free to society members, as well as children five and under.


© Indiana Historical Society

The state of Indiana celebrated their 14th anniversary of being a state on December 11, 1830. This also happened to be the day that the Indiana Historical Society was founded. A group of movers and shakers decided that Indiana’s history should be collected and preserved for generations to come. So, one year after the society was founded, they were given a charter by the Indiana General Assembly. Although the beginning years of the Indiana Historical Society were rough (they only had 12 meetings from 1830 to 1886), the society began to line its ducks in a row in 1886. Jacob Platt Dunn became the Indiana Historical Society’s directory in 1886 and led a group of trusted associates to recreate and reorganize the fundamentals of the Indiana Historical Society.

Dunn led the Indiana Historical Society to great success. Some of their successes included admitting the first woman editor, Eliza Browning, in 1906, as well as maintain an office at the Indiana capitol building until 1914. Around the early 1950s, the Indiana Historical Society began to see booming success when they began to publish historical Indiana works. Some of the highlighted works from this time period include a multivolume set of Indiana’s history which was published in 1966, as well as The Old Northwest, which won a Pulitzer Prize.

Today, the Indiana Historical Society Collections and William H. Smith Memorial Library are renowned as one of the nation’s largest institutions that has an in-depth amount of knowledge and artifacts about Indiana and the Old Northwest. Some of their collection include; over 50,000 digital images, 3,300 artifacts, 3,500 sheet music pieces, and over a whopping amount of 1.7 million photographs.

Fun ideas: Getaways in California, East Coast beaches, SC, TX, NC quick trip, Romantic weekend getaways


© Indiana Historical Society

The Indiana Historical Society has an extensive amount of historical artifacts that demonstrate everything one would want and need to know about Indiana and the Old Northwest. One of the best things about the Indiana Historical Society Collections is that most of the digital archives can be accessed on the society’s online database. So, if you’re not located in Indiana, you don’t have to worry about traveling far to explore and experience some of the society’s highlighted attractions.

Printed Collections and Artifacts is located within the William H. Smith Memorial Library and include a wide range of literature pieces that cover a variety of subjects and time periods. Some of the highlights of this collection features literary pieces about early American exploration, Civil War, and the history and significance of the railroad.

Manuscript and Visual Collections are featured in the William H. Smith Memorial Library and include everything from public business records to personal letters and diaries. Thus, visitors are given the chance to immerse themselves into what life was really like in Indiana and the Old Northwest.

Digital Image Collections showcases special historical photographs that have been recovered and revived by the Indiana Historical Society’s specialized Preservation Imaging Lab.

Weekend Getaways: Weekend Getaways from Seattle, NC day trips, FL, From Phoenix, WV, IN, Near Atlanta, AL

3.Educational Opportunities

Educational Opportunities
© Indiana Historical Society

The Indiana Historical Society provides various educational opportunities for the overall community. The Indiana Historical Society educational opportunities range from programs that can be taught in the classroom to on-site programs. One of the on-site programs include a specialized school tour, where students and teachers have the option of including one of a variety of add-ons to their tour. One of the highlighted add-ons include a special story time that is led after the tour. A member of the Indiana Historical Society will recall and influential and significant story of Indiana’s history and relay it to the students and teachers.

Another fantastic educational opportunity at the Indiana Historical Society is the Indiana Experience. The Indiana Experience fully immerses visitors into the life of people who lived in Indiana and the Old Northwest throughout the ages. The Indiana Experience includes a five exhibit interactive experience.

The first exhibit is You Are There, which explores historic photographs that were created in three-dimensional print. So, it appears as if you really are standing among Indiana’s historical features. The next exhibit is Destination Indiana, which showcases how technology has changed throughout the ages. Other experiences in this educational program include; Cole Porter Room, W. Brooks and Wanda Y. Fortune History Lab, and Lilly Hall.

Back to: Best Things to do in Indianapolis

450 W Ohio St, Indianapolis, IN 46202, Phone: 317-232-1882

What should I do in: CO, From San Diego, VA, San Diego, OH, WI, MI, Wedding, IL, WA

Indianapolis, IN: Indiana Historical Society