Indiana State Museum

Indiana State Museum
Permanent Exhibits & Activities


Frank O’Bannon Great Hall

Auditorium – With its state-of-the-art and modern setup, the museum’s theater, legacy from Dean and Barbara White, is a popular site in the Indianapolis downtown sector for studio-quality presentations and shows. The raked auditorium seats 240 people.
Legacy Theater – The permanent exhibit that resides in this part of the museum is called “The Indiana African American Experience.” This collection is an important home for historic memories of the influence of African Americans in Indianapolis and Indiana.
Treasure Cases – This permanent exhibit, which visitors can see from the Great Hall, feature various artifacts not found elsewhere in the museum. The Treasure Cases collection is rotated periodically.

First Floor

Age of Ice – Be prepared; it’s cold in this exhibit area! Cool environments have been reproduced in this gallery, depicting scenes like a prehistoric mastodont in mid-fall through ice, and visitors will view ancient fossils such as a giant beaver skeleton.
Ancient Seas – Ancient fossils and artifacts enhance a display of the actual floor of the Borden Delta, with the preserved stories of life in the seas of yesteryear.
Birth of the Earth – This unique interactive display offers a “Make a Quake” hands-on experiment, “Squishy Earth,” which delves into the makeup of the several layers of our planet, the R.B. Annis Naturalist’s Lab and many more fun ways to learn up close about geology.
Native Americans – Natural regions and figures are depicted in this permanent exhibit, which opens a window on the Native Americans who lived in Indiana from 14,000 years ago until 1783.
R.B. Annis Naturalist’s Lab – One of the core galleries on the museum’s Level 1, the Naturalist’s Lab is chock-full of fascinating, interactive displays that will thrill visitors of all ages.

Second Floor

Crossroads of Indiana – Journey back in time to the pivotal era during the late 1800s and early 1900s, and see how things were before women had the vote, when they were working hard to get it. This gallery is actually a re-created train depot from the turn of the last century.
Enterprise Indiana – This unusual exhibit is a long assembly line that carries products manufactured or invented in Indiana. Don’t forget to look up; most of the exhibit is suspended above your head!
Global Indiana – The “Pop Culture Wall” in this section of the museum displays nostalgic artifacts from the mid-1900s to the 1970s, an epoch when people all over the planet were moving through the transition from local to global. The “American Originals” honored in this exhibit include famous people from Indianapolis such as David Letterman and Jane Pauley.
The Hoosier Way – See a re-created lock from the Erie and Wabash Canals and take in the museum’s astonishing collection of 19th century artifacts depicting what life was like for the original Hoosiers.
Nineteenth State – This exhibit unfolds the history of Indiana from the interesting perspectives of both the pioneers moving West and the Native Americans whose land and way of life were being forever changed.

Third Floor

The Ford, Changing Exhibits and NiSource Galleries – Collections of fine art from Indianapolis and elsewhere. Collections are both permanent and rotating.
Rapp Reception Hall – This is a sought-after spot in Indy which people can rent for special occasions and social gatherings of all kinds. It includes the Foucault Pendulum clock and the NiSource Gallery, and offers a magnificent view of the Indianapolis skyline.

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