Released November 17, 2017

Celebration Crossing to Usher in Holidays at Indiana State Museum


Hannah Kiefer
Director of Communication
Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites
[email protected]

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Friday, Nov. 17, 2017) – On Nov. 24, Celebration Crossing at the Indiana State Museum will begin for the season, complete with the arrival of Santa via helicopter onto the museum’s front lawn at noon.

This tradition harkens back to 1960, when Santa arrived in a helicopter at the Indiana State Fairgrounds before leading a crowd of children to L.S. Ayres & Co., where he heard their wishes.

Guests will be able to gather and watch his arrival on Friday, as well as be among the first visitors to experience the many festivities offered at Celebration Crossing, including hearing holiday music, visiting Santa’s house, writing down wishes to be added to the Celebration Chain in the Great Hall and more.

Prior to Santa’s arrival, the Indianapolis Children’s Choir will entertain with holiday songs from 11 to 11:45 a.m. – an event that has taken place each season for 20 years. After their performance, guests will be invited out onto the lawn to welcome Santa.

Inside the museum, families can visit Santa and share their wish lists with him, as well as take a ride on the Santa Claus Express, which is modeled after the famous L.S. Ayres train, also displayed in Celebration Crossing.

David McDaniel, director of interpretive programs at the museum, said this is the 26th year for Celebration Crossing.

“What is unique about Celebration Crossing is that although we are steeped in tradition with experiences like dining in the L.S. Ayres Tea Room, we also always offer something new,” McDaniel said. “This year, a 20-foot mural created by Nashville, Ind. artist MK Watkins will make its debut in the Santa Claus Express gallery.”

Watkins will be present on Nov. 24 to greet guests and answer any questions about her artwork, which features distinctive Hoosier icons.

Celebration Crossing activities are included with purchase of general admission, which also grants access to all of the museum’s exhibits, including the national blockbuster traveling exhibition, The Power of Poison. Celebration Crossing will be open Nov. 24 through Jan. 7 during regular museum hours.

While Celebration Crossing is open, the L.S. Ayres Tea Room will also be open for guests to enjoy. Reservations are encouraged and can be made at 317-232-1637, ext. 0. The tea room will be open from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Nov. 24 through Jan. 7. Those wishing to visit the tea room do not need to purchase museum admission.

Additional holiday experiences such as Tea with Raggedy Ann, Family New Year’s Eve, and Santa’s Holiday Breakfast are available for additional costs. More information can be found on the museum’s website,

McDaniel said that for him, Celebration Crossing signals the beginning of the holiday season in Indianapolis.

“For me, it really becomes Christmas when Santa steps out of the helicopter, waves his hands at all of the excited children and greets each one as he makes his way inside the museum,” McDaniel said. “It’s a lump-in-the-throat, goosebump-raising kind of moment.”

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The Indiana State Museum is located in White River State Park in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. It is Indiana’s museum for science, art and culture, offering a place where you can celebrate, investigate, remember, learn and take pride in Indiana’s story in the context of the broader world. Even the building is a showcase of the best Indiana has to offer in architecture, materials and sculpture. Easy and convenient parking is available in the attached underground garage.