At the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, we are the keepers not only of facts and objects, but also of stories – and it’s part of our mission to share those stories with you. The purpose of this blog is to share the stories of our history, artifacts, volunteers, staff and more. Be sure to check this space for updates, and follow us on social media to learn even more about who we are and what we do across the state of Indiana.
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This autumn, the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites has everything your family needs to get into the fall spirit. From beautiful leaf-viewing destinations to spooky nights out, it’s time to grab your boots, throw on a cozy sweater and hit the road.
We’ve got your fall checklist covered – and we promise these are events and opportunities you won’t want to miss.
Fall foliage? Check.
Nothing says fall like the bloom of gorgeous fall colors across the trees, and what better place to see the colors of autumn than Brown County?
This location is a destination for lovers of fall leaves, and T.C. Steele State Historic Site is the perfect place to take in the beauty so breathtaking it inspired Hoosier artist T.C. Steele himself. Just over an hour south of Indy, your family can visit the gardens for free, or take a tour with purchase of general admission.
If you’re looking for more fall foliage photo ops, travel up north to Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site or Limberlost State Historic Site. The sight of the leaves across gorgeous Sylvan Lake at Gene Stratton-Porter or in the woods surrounding Limberlost isn’t something you’ll want to miss. Plus – admission to the grounds at Gene Stratton-Porter is free as well.
It’s not fall without a hayride – or a full-on Halloween festival.
At Angel Mounds State Historic Site, attend the Halloween Hullabaloo on Oct. 20 and 27 for just $5 per person, where you can take a haunted hayride and enjoy games and crafts, as well as see if you can escape the Mummy’s curse in “The Tomb.” Visitors are invited to dress in costume and collect candy in trick-or-treat bags throughout the night.
PS: You can also take a haunted hayride at Vincennes State Historic Sites during Fort Fright.
Costume contest? Check.
For some, fall is all about Halloween – and the costumes. On Oct. 5, strut your ghoulish stuff in a costume contest during Family Fright Night right here in Indy at the Indiana State Museum. During this night of spooky fun, you can compete in a costume contest, conduct spooky science experiments, create your own monster mask and more. Admission for this event is just $10 for members, $16 for non-members, and free for children age 3 and younger.
Haunted house? Check.
Most haunted houses may be fake, but we’ll do you one better with “Literally, A Haunted House” at Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site. Here, visitors have been scared since 1985 as they explore the haunted Carriage House of Culbertson Mansion. After the mansion was auctioned off years ago, it fell into disuse, and dark legends abound concerning tragic fires, spiritual activity and even demonic possession. This haunted house is not for the faint of heart, and it’s recommended for attendees age 10 and older – if they dare.
Or, in a twist on the usual haunted house, visit Fort Fright at Vincennes State Historic Sites, where visitors of all ages can explore the haunted trail around Fort Knox II. During no-scare hours, visitors can enjoy games, a hayride and more. But, once the spookier hours hit, be prepared to test your courage with dramatic scare scenes around the fort.
Spooky stories? Check.
Maybe a haunted house just isn’t your scene – and that’s okay! Instead, enjoy two spooky story programs at two of our locations, with tons of Halloween fun for the entire family.
Limberlost State Historic Site will offer spooky stories in a special program on Oct. 20 at the Loblolly Marsh, where visitors can enjoy Halloween-themed stories, along with roasting marshmallows and taking a night hike through the marsh. At Whitewater Canal State Historic Site on Oct. 13 and 20, visitors can take a Halloween-themed boat ride on the canal while hearing family-friendly spooky stories from a professional storyteller, all in conjunction with the Haunted Village of Metamora.
Ghost walk? Check.
For die-hard Halloween lovers, several of our events take the spookiness to the next level, by featuring haunted happenings about real historical events – or even, possibly, real spirits.
You can investigate the paranormal for yourself at New Harmony State Historic Site during after-hours tours where you can use real paranormal equipment. Or, take a ghost walk at Lanier Mansion State Historic Site or Corydon State Historic Site. At Lanier Mansion, you’ll tour the home and hear the chilling tales related to the house and its former residents. At Corydon, staff will tell you about their own supernatural encounters and take you on a tour to the alleged haunts throughout the town.
Fall-themed date night? Check.
Adults need fall fun, too – and we have two date nights perfect for a fall night out.
“The Dark Parlour” at Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site is sure to entertain, with an evening of “spirit theatre” that will make you question what you see – and what you believe. This event is open to all ages, and cocktails are available for purchase for those 21 and older.
Another spooky event at T.C. Steele State Historic Site will explore the Victorian fascination with ghosts and spiritualism, as well as include a magic show. Plus, enjoy cocktails and hors d’oervres, as well as a twilight stroll through Steele’s studio and home.
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