Lanier Mansion state historic site

for educators

Heroic Story, Superb Architecture

Experience history as it was in the 1840s when the United States was still young and the Ohio River was the gateway to the west. The Lanier Mansion tells the story of James F.D. Lanier, a businessman who worked in banking and finance and helped to ensure Indiana could stay in the Civil War on the side of the Union. Learn about the legacy still felt today throughout the Madison community.



Financial Literacy

601 West 1st Street, Madison, IN, USA

School Group Tours

K-Grade 12

Admission is FREE for pre-registered, accredited schools or homeschool groups of 10 or more K-12 students. Free admission includes teachers and bus drivers, plus one additional adult chaperone per every five students. Additional chaperones pay the group admission rate of $11/person. Members of the Indiana Association of Homeschool Educators receive free daily admission with proof of membership.

Contact site for non-Indiana student rate.

Pre-registration required at least two weeks in advance.

Lanier Mansion

Students will learn how Lanier helped to build Indiana’s economy and finance the Civil War, as well as what everyday life was like for a wealthy family in a bustling 1840s river town. They will also discover Greek Revival architecture as they make their way through the mansion.

Explore Programs

Whether it is at the site, outreach or virtual, we offer hands-on, exploratory and interactive programs on a variety of topics that provide your students a fun way to learn about Indiana’s people, places and things. All programs fulfill select Indiana Academic Standards.

On-site programs are available for groups of 15 or more. Please schedule with staff two weeks before planned visit.

Architectural Patterns

Grades 3–8
At site
Tuesday through Friday
Fee: $55/session

When Francis Costigan designed the Lanier Mansion, he borrowed a variety of decorative patterns from New York architect Minard Lefever. Learn about how Lefever’s pattern books influenced architects of the time and design your own Greek Revival building based on designs from the Lanier Mansion.

Indiana Academic Standards: Visual Arts: VA:Cr1.2.3a, VA:Cr1.1.5a, VA:Cr2.1.3a, VA:Cr2.1.4a, VA:Cr2.1.5a, VA:Cr2.1.8a, VA:Cr2.3.3a, VA:Cr2.3.4a

Communication Collage

Grades 3–8
At site
Tuesday through Friday
Fee: $55/session

Newspapers and magazines were key to spreading information in 19th-century America. Students will learn how different types of mass-media in the 19th century such as newspapers, magazines and cookbooks, spread ideas across large distances. They will use clippings from copies of 19th-century newspapers to create a collage of ideas that are meaningful to them.

Indiana Academic Standards: Social Studies: 4.E.1, 8.H.19 Visual Arts: VA:Cr1.2.3a, VA:Cr1.1.5a, VA:Cr2.1.3a, VA:Cr2.1.4a, VA:Cr2.1.5a, VA:Cr2.1.8a, VA:Cr2.3.5a

Book on podium
fossil in dirt

Animals of the Prehistoric Past

Grades 3–8
At site, virtual
Tuesday through Friday
Fee: $75/session

In the mid-19th century, fossils of prehistoric animals were a scientific sensation. Scientists and artists worked together to interpret how ancient animals looked based on fossils they left behind. Students will learn how to interpret fossils like a paleontologist and make their own drawing of a prehistoric creature based on fossil evidence.

Indiana Academic Standards: Visual Arts: VA:Cr2.3.3a Science: 3-LS4-1, 3-LS4-2, 4-LS1-1, 4-ESS1-1

Color and Dyes

Grades K–12
At site
Tuesday through Friday
Fee: $75/session

Colorful carpeting, bedspreads and textiles of all sorts decorate the Lanier Mansion’s interior. Colors in 19th-century fabric arts were bright, colorful, vibrant and, by modern standards, often quite bold! Students will decorate their own item using fabric pens to emulate the bright colors and patterns popular during the rococo revival movement.

Indiana Academic Standards: Visual Arts: VA.CR.1.1Ka, VA.CR.1.1.1a, VA:Cr1.2.3a, VA:Cr2.1.1a, VA:Cr2.1.2a, VA:Cr2.1.3a, VA:Cr2.1.4a, VA:Cr2.1.5a, VA:Cr2.1.6a, VA:Cr2.1.8a

lanier mansion state historic site gardens

Lanier Mansion Virtual Field Trip

Grades 4-12
Monday through Friday
Please register two weeks in advance.

Learn about the history of the Lanier Mansion, the Lanier family and their servants in this interactive virtual program.

Indiana Academic Standards: Social Studies: 4.H.5, 4.H.6, 4.H.7, 4.E.1, 4.E.2, 4.E.4,4.E.5, 4.E.6 8.H.19, 8.H.23, 8.H.24, IS.1.39 IS.4.1 IS.4.2 IS.4.3 IS.4.4 IS.4.6 IS.4.7 IS.5.2

Download the Educator Guide