THE INNOVATIVE APPROACH BEHIND THE UTOPIAN COMMUNITIES
New Harmony is the site of not just one, but two early American utopian communities. The Harmony Society, led by George Rapp, arrived in the United States in 1804 and settled in Pennsylvania before purchasing 20,000 acres on the Wabash River and moving to Indiana in 1814. The Harmonists were religious Separatists from Germany who pursued Christian perfection through every aspect of their daily conduct. They sold New Harmony to Robert Owen in 1825, and he, along with his business partner William Maclure, hoped to establish a model community where education and social equality would flourish. Visit New Harmony State Historic Site to tour the many historic buildings, and even get a look at the innovative approach behind the Harmonists’ original construction techniques.
A New Type of Community
The Harmonists believed that Christ’s second coming was imminent. They pursued Christian perfection through every aspect of their daily conduct and created a highly ordered and productive community. Between 1814 and 1824, the Harmonists constructed more than 180 log, frame and brick structures. The community was entirely self-sufficient and produced a wide variety of goods that were traded as far away as New Orleans, Pittsburgh and even overseas.
A New Direction
In 1824, George Rapp decided to sell New Harmony. He found a buyer in Robert Owen, a wealthy industrialist from Scotland. In 1825, Owen purchased New Harmony outright, hoping to establish a model community where education and social equality would flourish. Owen’s business partner William Maclure, a well-respected geologist, attracted many important scholars to New Harmony, including naturalists, geologists, educators and early feminists.
A Community Ends
By 1827, Owen’s community had dissolved. Nevertheless, his Utopian dream brought significant contributions to American scientific and educational theory, study and practice. Early feminist activity increased national awareness of the women’s suffrage issue.
Continuing a Legacy through preservation
Miss Mary Emily Fauntleroy, daughter to one of the founding members of the Minerva Society, was an early preservationist in New Harmony. Although her methods were unorthodox, she turned the Fauntleroy Home into the first tour site in New Harmony where she entertained the public by recounting the history and events that had taken place in the house. Miss Mary Emily would play the harp in the parlor of the home.
A Look Around New Harmony
Spend an afternoon—or an entire weekend—exploring this visionary community, featuring restored 19th-century theaters, print houses and more. Historic New Harmony is a unified program of the University of Southern Indiana and the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.
Explore a restored Opera House
Thrall’s Opera House has served a variety of purposes throughout its lifetime, starting as a dormitory in 1824 and eventually becoming a warehouse, multi-family dwelling, a dance hall and more. The structure was transformed into an opera house in 1888, serving as home to the Golden Troupe—which included “singing comedienne” Frances Golden, who entertained troops during WWI. Explore the restored theater and learn all about the Golden Troupe for yourself during a visit!
Wander through 20,000 ACRES OF PERFECTION
Robert Owen purchased the town of Harmony, which later became known as New Harmony, in 1825. Owen purchased the 20,000 acres from George Rapp with plans to establish a model community where education and social equality would flourish, but Owen’s “Community of Equality” dissolved by 1827. Still, Owen’s Utopian dream brought many contributions to American scientific and educational theory, study and practice that continue to affect Indiana even today.
Experience a Dizzying Amount of Fun
Planted in concentric circles of manicured privet hedge, this reconstructed Harmonist labyrinth evokes the serenity and peacefulness the Utopians were seeking. Large shade trees bordering one end of the lot provide a perfect canopy for garden parties and weddings, with the labyrinth gracing the background.
Discover that Print's not dead!
The New Harmony Advertiser (1858-1861) and The New Harmony Register (1867-1932) were both printed on equipment that’s still on display on the third floor of Community House No. 2. Father and son, Charles and Harry “Nick” Slater ran the Slater Print Shop using a six column, two page Washington Press. It is said to be assembled from two smaller presses used to print the Western Atlas and the Gleaner for many years before the Slaters used it.
An Ideal Weekend Getaway
New Harmony is the ideal location for weddings, conferences, festivals, concerts, retreats and theatrical performances. One stroll through town, and it’s not hard to see why. Situated in picturesque southwest Indiana, the town has lovingly preserved its historic charm, while providing all the latest dining and shopping experiences a weekend getaway demands. What are you waiting for? Historic New Harmony awaits.
A membership means more to discover, year-round
Whether it’s diving deeper into the historical documents in the Slater Print Shop, or spending the afternoon exploring the labyrinth and other outdoor experiences, our members find something new in New Harmony every visit.Explore our Membership Options
Plan Your Trip
The Visitors Center is open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Guided tours are required to tour the buildings.
March 16 through Oct. 31: Guided tours Tuesday through Sunday at 1 p.m.
Nov. 1 through Dec. 31: Tours offered on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m.
Dec. 31 through March 15: No tours offered.
New Harmony is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, the day after Christmas, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Easter. New Harmony is located in the Central time zone.
For groups of 15 or more, adult tickets are $6, and youth tickets are $3. Group tickets must be purchased in person.
Special discounts are available for educators and education groups, military, Access Pass holders and more. View all discounts >>
Tours begin at the Atheneum/Visitors Center, located at the corner of North and Arthur Streets. They include an orientation film at the Atheneum/Visitors Center, Atheneum exhibits, special programming (if available) and access to numerous historic sites and special exhibits. Visitors should set aside approximately two hours for a typical tour.
The Atheneum will be closed Dec. 23 through March 2. No tours are offered Dec. 23 through March 15.
Guided tours offered Tuesday through Sunday at 1 p.m. (EST) March 16 through Oct. 31. Closed April 4 (Easter).
Academic topics covered include history, art and science.
Learn more about field trip and school program offerings in the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites PreK-12 Education Program Guide. View guide >>
If you are a photographer looking to book a shoot at New Harmony State Historic Site, please review our commercial photography policy and application process. Learn more >>
- Members – Free (see membership section)
- Adults– $15
- Students – $5
- Youth* – $5
- Children younger than 6 – Free
- Family ticket – $30 (members of the same household)
- New Harmony residents (with ID) – Free
- University of Southern Indiana students & staff (with ID) – Free
- Seniors* – $12
*Seniors: Ages 60 and older, Youth: Ages 6-17
Children younger than age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. This policy complies with the University of Southern Indiana’s Child Protection Policy.
LOOKING TO BOOK A FIELD TRIP?
Help bring history, science, art and education to life for your students with a one-of-a-kind field trip experience. All state historic sites support Indiana Academic Standards, and feature a variety of academic topics. Call 812.682.4474 to schedule your visit to New Harmony.Learn More in Our Educator Program Guide
401 N. Arthur St., New Harmony, IN 47631
All guided tours start at the Atheneum/Visitor Center at the address below, and tickets for the tour are purchased there. The Antheneum/Visitor Center is a distinctive building, white with modern architecture and many windows.