Indianapolis has its fair share of museums; there are, in fact, 49 (at last check) in the greater metropolitan area, so depending or you interests you can find just about anything to explore—be it art, military, aviation, auto racing, medicine, history or something more like the railroads, firefighting, or the life and times of one-time famous Hoosiers. But out of all the museums located in and around the Circle City, there is one that showcases a little of everything—everything Indiana, that is.
The Indiana State Museum, located in the midst of White River State park in downtown Indianapolis, has an eclectic collection of items big and small; from a giant mastodon to an actual meteorite; all things fast and slow; from an original Duesenberg to a horse-drawn carriage; and ancient artifacts as well as brand new concepts; such as a miniature stone doll possibly dropped by early explorers like the Vikings, to the very latest in science and technology, music and movement … showcased in the museum’s latest exhibit, Design Zone, a highly interactive, hands-on exhibition where you can explore a plethora of creative concepts and learn the processes and tools needed to create a successful design.
One killer concept highlighted in Design Zone is the implementation of math and algebra skills needed to create a radical skate park where you can perform a twister on the half pike all while riding one of the waayyyy cool boards seen here.
Out of all the amazing and inspiring objects and exhibits in the Indiana State Museum, my favorites include a treaty signed in the 1700s by Native American Indians bearing names like Little Turtle—just seeing their “marks” on the centuries-old parchment is remarkable considering the extent, or true meaning such agreements would eventually bring; and, although “favorite” maybe isn’t the right word … because quite frankly it’s revolting, embarrassing and downright sickening … but the exhibit containing a red robe once worn by a member of the Indiana KKK is so shocking and disturbing that the mere sight of it and the feelings it conjured is something I won’t ever forget … and although a part of me wishes it wasn’t burned into my memory, I know it’s a part of history—one that shan’t be forgotten nor shall the lives lost during such a dark part of my state, let alone my country’s, history.
And it’s exhibits like this, combined with the feel good, amusing, joyous ones like the new and exciting Design Zone, that attest to the Indiana State Museum’s dedication to bringing Hoosier history to life. All of it. Oh … and dare I forget … no need to travel elsewhere for lunch. The museum’s restaurant menu offers absolutely delicious, fresh and innovative cuisine, none of which can be considered an ancient artifact. 650 W. Washington St., Indianapolis | 317.232.1637 | indianamuseum.org 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon-Sat, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sun | $13 adults, $8.50 (ages 3-17), 2 and under free