Released December 16, 2022
ANGEL MOUNDS STATE HISTORIC SITE TO UNDERGO MAJOR TRANSFORMATION
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Angel Mounds State Historic Site will undergo a two-year, $6.5 million transformation to better share the story of the Native American people of both the past and the present, thanks to $4 million in funding from the state of Indiana and a $2.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.
Between now and October 2024, the interpretive center will be closed, and a new experience will be installed that focuses on the lives of the Native American people who lived on the land that is now the historic site. The project is being planned in collaboration with researchers and historians from today’s Native American nations and the IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
During renovations, the outdoor space will remain open to the public at a reduced cost of $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for youth (ages 3-17), and Angel Mounds staff plans to offer more outdoor programming during the revamping of the site.
Angel Mounds, which is located on the banks of the Ohio River, is one of the best-preserved, pre-contact Native American sites in North America. Built between A.D. 1000 and 1450, the town was occupied by more than 1,000 people who were part of the Mississippian culture, and included earthen mounds built to elevate important buildings.
“Our goal is to engage visitors in an experience focused on the real people, places and things that lived and worked at this site,” said Cathy Ferree, president and CEO of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites. “The new experience is an opportunity to utilize knowledge, artifacts and tools to bring the Angel Mounds State Historic Site forward with what we learn from our collaborations with Native American nations. We also have an opportunity to upgrade amenities in the visitor center to make the site more comfortable for all who visit and use the site.”
Michele Greenan, director of archaeology for the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, will be among those creating the new visitor experience. She said the previous exhibit at Angel Mounds “was outdated and lacked any input from Native American historians.” Site Director Mike Linderman said he is “looking forward to incorporating all the research conducted over the last 10 years.”
The Angel Mounds State Historic Site currently features an interpretive center, re-creations of Mississippian buildings and a working reconstruction of the 1939 Works Progress Administration archaeology laboratory. The 500-acre non-archaeological portion of the site contains a nature preserve with hiking and biking trails.
“This is a huge opportunity for us and the state of Indiana,” Ferree said. “Angel Mounds has always been one of our most visited sites because it has such great significance. This project allows us to produce an authentic experience in collaboration with the people whose story it will tell.”
The $2.5 million Lilly Endowment grant is part of its Religion and Cultural Institutions Initiative, a nationwide effort to encourage museums and other organizations to develop exhibitions and education programs that fairly and accurately portray the role of religion in the U.S. and around the world. The Indiana State Museum is one of 16 organizations being funded in the latest round of grants through the initiative.