Released November 3, 2016

Museum Undergoes Bold Transformation


: Bruce Williams, 317.234.8146, [email protected]

INDIANAPOLIS — As the Indiana State Museum and Historic Site’s 150th anniversary approaches in 2019, the museum is pursuing a bold plan to transform the museum and 11 historic sites into places that not only reflect its past, but lead it into the future.

“Because of all the changes in technology, we are changing the way we tell Indiana’s stories,” said Tom King, Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites president and CEO. “We are boldly transforming our galleries to change how visitors experience Indiana’s history. We’re creating more immersive, interactive exhibitions, as well as creating spaces that can be changed on a regular basis so that visitors will have something new to enjoy each time they visit.”

As a part of that bold plan, on November 2, 2016, a stakeholder preview will take place at 12:10 p.m. in the museum’s Governor Frank and Judy O’Bannon Great Hall featuring a talk by Laura L. Lott, president and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums.

On November 12, 2016 three newly-renovated core science, culture and history galleries, as a part of phase one renovations, will be unveiled to the public. The updated Natural Regions, Contested Territory and 19th State galleries, will excite guests as they get to crawl into a black bear’s cave, hear the sounds of pre-contact Indiana, pack their own covered wagon, hear Little Turtle’s stirring speech at the signing of the Treaty of Greenville and much more.

“By the completion of phase five construction in 2019, guests will get to travel through space and time—from the distant past to the possible future and back, all in a way that’s more interactive, more immersive and hands-on and more relevant to 21st century audiences,” said Beth Van Why, associate vice president of exhibitions.

Phase two construction will begin in the spring of 2017 and include the museum’s Ice Age and Prehistoric Native Americans galleries as well as the Naturalist Lab on Level 1 of the museum. Phase three, which includes the galleries that cover cultural history from 1840-1930 on Level 1 and the Ancient Seas area on Level 1, are scheduled to close in the spring of 2018 and reopen to the public in the fall of 2018. Phase four, which includes the Level 1 gallery What Shapes Us –formerly Birth of the Earth –is scheduled to close in the fall of 2018 and reopen to the public in the spring of 2019. Phase five, which includes cultural history galleries from 1930 to today and into tomorrow on Level 2, are scheduled to close in the spring of 2019 and reopen to the public in the fall of 2019.

A special press preview is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 2 from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. Any interested members of the press should RSVP by October 31 to Bruce Williams at [email protected] or 317.234.8146. If media would like to stay for the stakeholder preview and set up live shots for their noon news, please let Bruce Williams know.

Transformations are taking place at the Indiana State Historic Sites as well. The historic Levi Coffin House in Fountain City, Ind., once known as the Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad, will open its much-awaited multimillion-dollar interpretive center December 10 and 11. The 5,156-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility will tell the story of Indiana’s connection to the Underground Railroad. The Corydon Capitol State Historic Site has been protected from water to make sure it will endure another 200 years and the Selma Steele gardens at T.C. Steele State Historic Site have been restored to their former grandeur. Between now and 2019, critical updates will be made to all the historic structures.

For details on the newly renovated core galleries at the State Museum, please contact Beth Van Why, associate vice president of exhibitions at 317.607.4937 or [email protected]. For details on the work done at the historic sites, please contact Laura Minzes, associate vice president of Historic Sites at 317.232.0069 or [email protected].

On Saturday, Nov. 12 [only] all children under age 18 will receive free admission with the purchase of an adult ticket. Also, for a limited time, active and new members have the option to lock in their membership at the new price through 2019. The new prices are Patron $115, Family/Grandparent $80 and Individual Premier $65. For details, please contact Carrie Miller, membership and donor relations manager at 317.233.9348 or [email protected].

The Indiana State Museum is located at 650 W. Washington Street in Indianapolis. Exhibition gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The first Tuesday of each month (Community Tuesdays) admission is half price. Auxiliary aids and services are available with advance notice. For more information, call the museum at 317.232.1637.

#    #    #

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.