According to the Institute of Museum and Library Services there are more than 35,000 museums in the U.S. Which, as it just so happens, is more than three times the number of Starbucks. Good to know our culture is still more important than our coffee. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with sipping a well-crafted cappuccino while enjoying the many different types of art and artifacts that don the many different museums throughout the country. Here, are three of my personal favorites—all located, of course, in Indianapolis … and all within a short walk to a Starbucks ; )
For the lover of Native American history and the Old West If you’ve ever wanted to feel like a part of the Old West while you’re in the Midwest but can’t quite figure out what to do—sans watching reruns of The Lone Ranger and Bonanza—then you need to plan a day to explore the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. Showcasing what quite possibly could be the most impressive collection of contemporary Native American art in the world, the Eiteljorg has pieces from renowned artists like Frederic Remington, Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keeffe and many more.
If you go, look for my two favorite pieces, Baffled Chiefs Leaving the Fort—an 1897 oil on fabric support by none other than Federick Remington; and Dog Dancer by Randall Davey, an oil on canvas circa early to mid-1900s.
Best place to learn about the Hoosier state Want to know more about Indian’s history? Of course you do. Visit the The Indiana Museum of Art and learn about the people and events that made Indiana the state she is today. With three floors jam packed with everything from an 1887 Sig Sautelle circus shell bandwagon to an electric chair used by the Indiana Dept. of Corrections from 1913-94, the ISMA is the mecca for anything and everything Hoosier.
If you go, make sure you take the time to see a movie in the IMAX theatre—which just so happens to be the largest in the state and one of only 13 in the U.S. with the noble distinction of having shown Star Wars, The Force Awakens on an authentic 70mm IMAX screen.
And if you want to walk amongst ghosts The Indiana Medical History Museum is located in what once was the Central State Hospital for the Insane. The building — now listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the oldest pathology facility in the country — has an autopsy room and replica doctor’s office equipped with turn-of-the-century medical instruments. And the cemetery, though it’s been cleaned up and preserved over recent years, still serves as the final resting spot for many unnamed souls.
If you go, make sure you visit the autopsy room where you’ll see preserved brains—akin to Young Frankenstein’s Abby Normal—organized by pathology.