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The Athenaeum: Historic German Attraction in Indianapolis

The Athenaeum has a long, respected history since its beginning in 1892, when it was built as a home for some central Indianapolis German societies and the Athenaeum Turners, an early German athletic society, also known as “Sozialer Turnverein.” Almost one century later, the American Cabaret Theatre teamed up with several friends and donors to renovate this historic building and create a home for their cabaret in busy downtown Indianapolis.

Athenaeum, Indianapolis, IN The Athenaeum is still going strong, a force majeure for the Indianapolis performing arts and activities in the downtown Indianapolis sector. It houses a community clubhouse, the Athenaeum Foundation, the Athenaeum Theatre, the Athenaeum Damenverein, the Athenaeum Docent Club, the Athenaeum Pops Orchestra, the Indiana German Heritage Society, the Indianapolis German Language Institute, Indianapolis Maennerchor Inc., the Max Kade German-American Center, the Young Actors Theatre, the Rathskeller Restaurant, the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, and the Rotary Club of Indianapolis. The Athenaeum, in fact, has long been a favorite source of Indianapolis attractions, among many.

The Atheneum is a crucial center of Indianapolis culture, and will likely be around for at least another hundred years.

Below, you will find a brief description of each of the groups that call the Athenaeum their home. Click on the links for more detailed information.

The American Cabaret Theatre recently moved to the¬†Connoisseur Room on Ohio Street, and is making plans for a permanent move to the Columbia Club Hotel in Indianapolis’s downtown district. When the deed is done, their name will officially change to The Cabaret at the Columbia Club.
Athenaeum Damenverein This is the women’s group representing the foundation of the Das Deutsche Haus Athenaeum organization. The group meets for social occasions and volunteers to support the Das Deutsche Haus groups’ various activities.
The Athenaeum Pops Orchestra Comprised strictly of volunteer musicians, the Athenaeum Pops Orchestra rehearses once a week in the Athenaeum YMCA Aerobics Room. All musicians are welcome to apply. Programs are usually people-pleasing, with such content as movie themes, Broadway musicals and pops. This group presents about 15 concerts per year.
The Athenaeum Turners “Turners” are gymnasts, in German “Sozialer Turnverein.” This group’s origins go all the way back to before 1894, when they conceived and built Das Deutsche Haus Athenaeum to host the gymnastic groups’ athletic endeavors, parties, lectures, dramatic events and dances.
Indiana German Heritage Society Specifically created with the aim of preserving, promoting and celebrating its rich German heritage, this organization is a mainstay of Hoosiers with German roots.
Indianapolis German Language Institute -  Recently founded in 2002 by parents with a desire to encourage bilingual and bicultural education for children of German heritage, this group concentrates on the nuts and bolts of communication in German, with a goal of 100% literacy. The institute has promoted German home-schooling inside the Athenaeum Building since 2003.
Indianapolis Maennerchor Inc. “Gentelmen of Song Since 1854″ This men’s choir has the greatest continuous longevity in the nation. The Maennerchor was founded in 1854 and holds rehearsals at the Athenaeum from September to May. It is a non-profit organization.
Max Kade German-American Center Situated in the Deutsche House at the Athenaeum, the Max Kade Center upholds a lofty tradition of ongoing education in German-American relations and is the foundation for German-American studies in Indianapolis.
Rathskeller Restaurant Also hailing from the historic Athenaeum halls, the Rathskeller Restaurant offers traditional German fare, special events, and live music. It’s been voted the best German restaurant in Indianapolis several years in a row.
Rotary Club of Indianapolis Also calling the Athenaeum its home in Indianapolis, the Rotary Club continues the service-oriented activities for which Rotarians across the country are famous.
Young Actors Theatre This is the longest-lived non-profit theatrical group in Indy. Since its inception in 1979, the YAT has been all about turning out great young actors who are confident in their art and well versed in its creative and disciplinary foundation.
YMCA of Greater Indianapolis The YMCA is a big part of the high-energy center called the Athenaeum. Serving the community across the board, they are one of the strongest “Y’s” in the country, offering activities, opportunities, summer camps, child care and jobs

Athenaeum, Indianapolis, IN

The Athenaeum Building
401 E Michigan St #3
Indianapolis, IN 46204
317.685.9705


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