Cardboard Engineering

Sept. 29 – May 27
Included with general admission

Purchase tickets

Bring your child – or just your own inner child – to experience this 3,000-square-foot play space stocked with cardboard boxes of all sizes, cardboard pieces large and small, more colorful tape than you could possibly use, markers, safety scissors and much more.


Cardboard +
Tape +
Markers +
Safety scissors

What can you create using just these materials?

Explore how real world objects are built. Then, use your own creativity, imagination and problem solving skills to create the largest piece in the room, or challenge your friends or family to a friendly competition and create the largest, smallest or most creative item in the play space. Try building something from scratch or even build on what other visitors have left behind – it’s all up to you!

Feeling especially adventurous? Study and mimic treasures displayed in special cases.

How do the elegant lines in Hoosier designer Norman Norell's women's coat make it more beautiful? Can you design your own piece of cardboard clothing? Or add wacky fringe and colors like the embroidered purse and peacock feather folding fan. Check out fossils, crystals and other wild objects from nature and mimic the details in your masterpiece.

From within our own collection, fascinating objects from fossils and toys to armor and fashion will teach us how engineering techniques are used in everyday objects. Come back every three months to see new treasures!

Before or after engineering your own masterpiece, grab a pair of 3-D glasses, a bag of popcorn, and see the awe-inspiring "Dream Big 3-D" documentary at the Indiana State Museum IMAX Theater. Receive $2 off the price of museum admission with the purchase of an IMAX ticket (discount not available online).

Narrated by Academy Award® winner Jeff Bridges, "Dream Big: Engineering Our World" is a first of its kind film for IMAX® and giant screen theatres that will transform how we think about engineering. From the Great Wall of China and the world’s tallest buildings to underwater robots, solar cars and smart, sustainable cities, "Dream Big" celebrates the human ingenuity behind engineering marvels big and small, and reveals the heart that drives engineers to create better lives for people around the world. The movie is about 40 minutes long and will be shown daily at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m, with additional showings available for special groups. Learn more >>

Purchase tickets in-person at the IMAX Theater or online here.

Cardboard Engineering’s Artists in Residence, Clark Fralick and Clyde Gaw, will be on-site Jan. 19 and 26, and Feb. 16 and 23 building a cardboard mastodon! Clark and Clyde are both art educators with the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County in New Palestine, with 59 years of combined experience in K-12 art classrooms. These artists will inspire visitors to build whatever they can imagine, and they will also help with construction questions. 

During their research, Clark and Clyde observed that children naturally gravitated toward working with cardboard. Inside their art room maker-spaces, the cardboard center is one of the children’s favorite. Because cardboard is widely available, malleable, durable, and ideal for a multitude of construction and sculpture ideas, both teachers feel cardboard is an excellent medium for a creative art activity.

Upcoming Cardboard Engineering Programs

Your Creations Inspire Us!

Here are just a few of the cardboard masterpieces you've created. Keep on building!

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Thank you to our sponsors

Supporting sponsors:

Contributing sponsors:


In-kind partners:

 Tape donated by    on behalf of  

Domino’s Pizza