Exhibitions

Symphony in Color

Now through May 7, 2017

Located on Level 3

Symphony in Color is an enrichment program of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Association offering a unique blending of symphonic music and visual arts. Involving more than 30,000 Indiana school children each year, it culminates in a juried exhibition at the Hilbert Circle Theatre and Indiana State Museum.

Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters

Now through May 29, 2017

Located in the South Gallery on Level 3

Come face to face with the inside of a tornado, create your own volcano and earthquake, and witness the aftermath of several historical disasters. Learn about these events from a geological, cultural, ecological, and global perspective. This exhibition and its national tour were created by The Field Museum, Chicago. 
This exhibition is part of the Year of Science, presented by Lilly. 
This exhibition is locally contributed to by Rolls-Royce and Purdue Science. 

Indiana Pacers 50th Anniversary, 1967-2017

Now through June 18, 2017

Located in Legacy Theater on Level 1

The Indiana Pacers professional basketball franchise was born in 1967 when six Indianapolis investors pooled a few thousand dollars each to purchase a charter membership in the fledgling American Basketball Association (ABA). In the half-century that has transpired since that fateful spring, the Pacers have achieved monumental victories and suffered crushing defeat. The team has overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles and grown to become a cornerstone of Indianapolis’ emergence as a major contemporary American metropolis.

It’s well-known throughout the U.S. and internationally that Indiana is the center of all things basketball; high school, collegiate and professional. As the fieldhouse announcer proclaims, This is Indiana, where basketball is more than a game, it’s a religion! The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites proudly join the Indiana Pacers in celebrating the team’s Golden Anniversary, and looks forward to another 50 years of “Boom Baby!” memories.

Pulp: Works on Paper

Now through June 18, 2017

Located in the NiSource Gallery on Level 3

Artists have a wealth of options when it comes to the technology and materials used to create their art. Pulp explores the energy and mystery of one choice – paper. For an artist, a sheet of paper can be the beginning of a journey that lasts a lifetime. Paper, specifically fine art paper, comes in a variety of physical characteristics: smooth or rough, thick or thin, opaque or transparent, each suiting different needs of the artist using it. Pulp goes beyond the subject matter and explores how the medium itself influences the creative direction of each piece of art. The show features 26 contemporary works on paper from the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites permanent collection.  

Ice Age Graveyards

Now through Sept. 4, 2017

Located in the Ford Gallery on Level 3 

Come discover the mastodons and mammoths that were Indiana’s last native giants. Ice Age Graveyards is an exciting look at Indiana’s chilly past, presented in a cool new way. 
This exhibition is part of the Year of Science, presented by Lilly. 

100 Years Later: Indiana in the First World War

Now through Nov. 11, 2018

This exhibition will be presented in parts during 2017 and 2018. From cases of artifacts to displays of art, there will be a range of ways to enjoy and experience this exhibition.

From April 6, 2017 through Nov. 11, 2018, the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the First World War. With several installations and exhibitions available in our public spaces, the ISMHS will explore Indiana’s contributions to the war effort. Along with the personal and political sacrifices Hoosiers made – visitors will learn more about this challenging historical period, as well as honoring Indiana’s veterans.

Songs of War – Canal Overlook Bridge
May 27, 2017 – Nov. 12, 2017

Indiana in the War – Gov. Frank & Judy O'Bannon Great Hall
May 2017 – Nov. 2017
May 2018 – Nov. 2018

Honoring Hoosier Veterans – Gov. Frank & Judy O'Bannon Great Hall
2018

Field of Poppies; an Interactive Experience – Gov. Frank & Judy O'Bannon Great Hall
2018

Questions about what will be on view during your visit? Please call guest services at 317.232.1637. 

Lincoln’s Mallet

Located in the Core Galleries on Level 2

The Indiana State Museum has unveiled a previously unknown artifact from Abraham Lincoln’s life in Indiana. Lincoln’s bench mallet (circa 1829) is on public display for the first time in 188 years at the museum. This artifact was originally a splitting maul used by Lincoln to drive iron wedges into logs creating split-rails for fencing. The maul head, made from a tree root-ball, eventually split in half. Rather than discard the tool, Lincoln repurposed it into a bench mallet he used to drive pegs into furniture and other fixtures. Lincoln discarded the original long handle and relocated a shorter grip into the remaining portion of the maul to create a mallet.

Level 1 Core Galleries

Featuring the natural history that made Indiana what it is today, the core galleries on level one feature artifacts and interactive experiences that allow visitors to connect with Indiana's geology, geography, paleontology and archaeology.

Level 2 Core Galleries

The second level of the museum is dedicated primarily to the culture and cultural history of Indiana. From Abraham Lincoln to RCA televisions, Stutz automobiles to Civil War artifacts, this is the place to explore the cultural history of Hoosiers.

History IN Progress:

We're currently working on some exciting updates to our core galleries. We've just unveiled all-new Natural Regions, Contested Territory and 19th State galleries. These spaces are more immersive, more interactive and offer fantastic new experiences to explore. As we move through our plan to create the same sort of exiting changes in all of our core galleries, you may notice areas that are closed while we make these improvements. Please note that beginning February 23, 2017, the Ice Age and Prehistoric Native American galleries will be closed to the public for renovations. If you have questions about specific areas or artifacts, please call us at 317.232.1637 or email museumcommunication@indianamuseum.org prior to your visit, and we'll be happy to help.