Released January 2, 2020

Winter and Spring 2020 Media Tips from the Indiana State Museum

Below are the upcoming experiences and events for the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites for January through April 2020.

Tickets for programs can be purchased online at, by calling 317.232.1637 or at the door. Events requiring advanced reservations are noted. Museum admission is not included with most programs but can be purchased for a discounted group rate. $5 parking vouchers are provided for all program attendees.

For images of the below events, go here:

Learn more about all of our programs at these links: Early Childhood ProgramsYouth ProgramsPublic and Family Programs and Adult Programs.

Upcoming Experiences

Rube Goldberg™: The World of Hilarious Invention! Exhibit (Jan. 18 – May 10, 2020) 

Explore contraptions inspired by Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist and inventor Rube Goldberg and celebrate his imaginative techniques, humorous storytelling and inventive skills. Like Rube Goldberg, you can activate and create crazy chain-reaction contraptions that use everyday objects to complete simple tasks in the most overcomplicated, inefficient and hilarious ways possible.

FIX: Heartbreak and Hope Inside Our Opioid Crisis (Feb. 1, 2020 – Feb. 7, 2021)

The United States is in the middle of a crisis that is impacting families and communities. This February, the Indiana State Museum plans to talk about it – and you’re invited to join the discussion. Explore the science and biology behind opioid use disorder, then discover true, personal stories from people affected. Walk inside a fabric brain, see artistic responses to the crisis and find hope in learning that recovery is possible as we all work together toward finding solutions.

Cause and Æffect (March 28 – July 6, 2020) 

Women have a long history of fighting for their rights. This spring and summer, explore artworks born of that activism. Discover the artists behind each piece, and learn about the causes they continue to fight for. See works inspired by debate over topics like the death penalty or the environment, then take a moment for self-reflection and an opportunity to react.


Early Childhood Programs

Preschool Fridays (families with children ages 5 and younger)
9 to 10 a.m., Jan. 3
Included with purchase of museum admission

Experience your very own wintery wonderland in Santa’s front yard during this early opening event! Enjoy interactive story times at 9:15 and 9:45 a.m. with North Pole elves, then have a snowball fight, build a snowman and take a ride on the Santa Claus Express train.

Toddler Time (ages 18-36 months)
Even the littlest learner can find fun at the Indiana State Museum. In this special class just for toddlers, children enjoy circle time, stories, hands-on activities and movement time. Through play, children learn problem-solving, social-emotional and communication skills, as well as develop their fine and gross motor skills.

10 to 11 a.m.
$8/member child, $11/non-member child; adults free with paid child
Each child must be accompanied by an adult.

Jan. 30 – Experiencing Seasons

Explore the changing seasons through sensory play and movement.

Feb. 27 – Life on the Farm

Learn about your favorite barnyard animals and enjoy an interactive reading of “Barnyard Dance” by Sandra Boynton.

March 26 – Using our Senses

Use your senses to explore in this month’s program, where children will create art using various textures, and play with musical instruments.

April 30 – Mother Earth
Celebrate Earth Day through nature-based activities. Make a nature collage, take a close look at seeds and explore plants.

Small Wonders (ages 3-5)
Preschoolers are invited to learn, play and discover in the museum during this hour-long class. Build your child’s sense of wonder and playfulness as they engage in storytelling, hands-on activities, music, art and more.

10 to 11 a.m.
$9/member child, $12/non-member child; adults free with paid child
Each child must be accompanied by an adult.

Jan. 7, 8 & 11 – Inspired by Nature

From hungry caterpillars to grouchy ladybugs, children will experience the books of Eric Carle while exploring the art and science behind these childhood classics.

Feb. 4, 12 & 15 – Minerals Rock!

Explore real rocks and minerals from the museum collection, just in time for the museum’s annual GeoFest (Feb. 21-23). Use scientific tools to take a closer look at the rocks, and create rock-inspired art.

March 3, 11 & 14 – Becoming Paleontologists

Your little one will become a paleontologist and explore the world of Ice Age animals. From digging in the dirt for bones to creating Ice Age art, children will have a blast.

April 7, 15 & 18 – Simple Machines

Explore simple machines through STEAM-inspired stations and a collaborative project. Construct your own catapult and create a work of art.

Young Explorers (ages 4-6)
Nurture your child’s independence at this 90-minute drop-off class designed for older preschoolers that encourages creativity and exploration in an environment that fosters curiosity and imagination.

1 to 2:30 p.m.
$10/member child, $13/non-member child
This class is for children to attend on their own.

Jan. 11 – Backyard Animals

Discover the animals that call Indiana home and explore the museum’s Natural Regions gallery. Learn about habitats and animal adaptations through stations, interactive story time, nature-based art and sensory play.

Feb. 15 – Rocks and Minerals

Little ones can become geologists and take a look at real rocks and minerals from the museum’s collection, just in time for GeoFest (Feb. 21-23).

March 14 – Simple Machines

Design and engineer your own invention using simple machines after being inspired by the museum’s new experience about humorist and inventor Rube Goldberg.

April 18 – Spring Time

Celebrate Earth Day by discovering ways to take care of our environment and working on a recyclable-based art project.

Messy Mondays (ages 2-5)
Feb. 17, March 23 & 30
10 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 2 p.m.
$7/member child, $10/non-member child; free for adults with paid child and children younger than age 2
Each child must be accompanied by an adult.

Get a little messy and have a ton of fun while exploring a variety of science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) topics.

Literacy Day (families with children age 6 and younger) 
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., March 7
Included with purchase of museum admission

Enjoy a day of stories at Literacy Day! From interactive read-alongs in the galleries to storytelling performances, explore books with Indiana connections and maybe even find a new favorite. Storytimes will also be offered in Spanish and ASL.


Youth Programs

Homeschool Tuesdays (ages 6-13)
Take your child’s learning to the museum for a day during this two-hour class exploring different topics in science, art, history and culture. Adults join their learners for an interactive family experience.

10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
First Tuesday of each month
$8/members, $10/non-members
Admission is included for students but must be purchased by accompanying adults or additional children if visiting the museum after the program.

Jan. 7 – Art in Motion

Students will activate their creative side and spend the morning creating one-of-a-kind, moving masterpieces.

Feb. 4 – Happy Birthday, Abe!

Celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s 111th birthday, and explore the life of this famous pioneer and president.

March 3 – Rube Goldberg: Engineering Reactions

Immerse yourself in the wacky world of humorist and inventor Rube Goldberg, and explore chain reactions as you build your own machine.

April 7 – Earth Day, Every Day!

What is ecology, and why is it important? Engage in hands-on activities dedicated to learning how to take care of our Earth.

Game Jam (ages 12-16)
Learning to make digital games: 1 to 5 p.m., Feb. 8; $15/members, $20/non-members
Game Jam and making games: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Feb. 29; $7/members, $10/non-members
Gallery of finished games: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., March 1; included with purchase of museum admission

Making games is fun, and having others play your game is even better. Spend time learning how to make a game, then join us for Game Jam, featuring digital game developers from around the city. Over the span of eight hours, you’ll go from concept to finished product. Once your game is complete, it’ll be set up for others to enjoy for the day.

Boy Scouts of America: Investigating Our Past
Wolf Elective Adventure: Digging in the Past – 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Feb. 8 (grade 2)
Archaeology Merit Badge – 12:30 to 3 p.m., Feb. 8 (grades 6-12)
$12/scouts, $1/adults
Registration required by Jan. 25 by visiting or calling 317.232.1637.

What is the difference between paleontology and archaeology? Discover the answer and explore how these scientists learn about the past with this hands-on program. Earn your Digging in the Past Badge or complete your requirements for the Archaeology Merit Badge.

Girl Scout Badge Day: Out of this World
Space Science Investigator – 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., March 14 (grades 4-5)
Space Science Researcher – 1 to 3 p.m., March 14 (grades 6-8)
$12/Girl Scouts, $1/adults
Registration required by Feb. 29 by visiting or calling 317.232.1637.

Explore the vastness of space through hands-on activities, and discover more about our solar system, planets and stars.

Girl Scout Badge Day: Artistic Explorations
Outdoor Art Apprentice – 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., March 28 (grades 6-8)
Outdoor Art Master – 1 to 3 p.m. (grades 11-12)
$12/Girl Scouts, $1/adults
Registration is required by March 14 by visiting or calling 317.232.1637.

Be inspired by the beauty of nature to spark creative art making! Girl Scouts are encouraged to bring a digital camera, but it is not required.


Public and Family Programs

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Jan. 20
FREE; canned food donations for Gleaners Food Bank encouraged

Celebrate Dr. King’s dream and explore the story of the fight for civil rights. See some of Dr. King’s most iconic speeches, experience activities themed around civil and human rights, create a “Dream” mural, and reflect on what you can do to ensure Dr. King’s dream lives on for future generations.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Jan. 25
Included with purchase of museum admission; some performances and workshops may have fees

Shake off winter for a day and celebrate imagination at this annual event celebrating all things creative! Experience art, film, comedy, theater, music and so much more. See artistic displays, sing along with musical performances, tell a joke, invent something new or try your hand at Shakespeare. Sit back and enjoy the show – or create something for yourself.

Presidents’ Day
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Feb. 17

Join the presidential celebration! Design a lunar lander for JFK’s mission to the moon, become an inventor like Abe Lincoln, deliver your own presidential speech, and explore Eisenhower’s transportation system and design one for the future. Test your knowledge of vice presidents, conduct a briefing in the White House Press Room and more.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Feb. 21-23
Included with purchase of museum admission; $7/person for scouts and each family member

Rock out at the 17th annual GeoFest! Browse a wide variety of fossils, cut and uncut gemstones, and minerals from all over the world. Purchase jewelry or crafts made from natural materials, and add one-of-a-kind specimens to your collection. Plus, enjoy family-friendly activities around the museum by helping our fossil zookeeper with “feeding time” and exploring Indiana’s ancient seas through a scuba diving scavenger hunt. Make amethyst jewelry or a pet rock, then join the rock and roll race.

Family Night Out: Crazy Contraptions
6 to 8 p.m., March 6
$5/members, $10/non-members, $7/Girl Scouts and each family member; free for children younger than age 3

Explore the Rube Goldberg experience after hours to be inspired by the world of the wacky. Create crazy machines, join in the deconstruction zone where you can take apart everyday objects, and play with gears and levers.

National Pi Day
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., March 14
Included with purchase of museum admission

You don’t have to be a mathematician to love Pi – a number that keeps our universe running correctly. Join us for a day of Pi-related fun as we explore this useful number and celebrate Albert Einstein’s birthday! Celebrate at 3 p.m. with – of course – pie.

Family Discovery Day: The Human Body
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., March 14
Included with purchase of museum admission

The human body is a complicated machine. Explore the chemistry of the human brain, investigate the five senses and discover how the body really works. Learn about the importance of emotional intelligence, and pick up some tips for how to cope with a bad day.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m., March 28
Included with purchase of museum admission

Join TechPoint Foundation for Youth, Indiana University School of Education and the Indiana State Museum for TinkerFest 2020, a hands-on, experiential opportunity designed to engage and inspire Indiana’s designers, builders, coders, makers and tinkerers of all ages. Then, join in the fun with hands-on activities that will allow everyone to tinker, make, invent, create, play and imagine. Students will also present projects exploring solutions for affordable, clean energy and climate action.

“Love Over Dose” by Young Actors Theatre 
1 to 2 p.m., April 4
$5/members, $7/non-members

In the midst of the opioid crisis, Young Actors Theatre (YAT) takes hope from our community’s young people and from the knowledge that students listen best to messages from their peers. Through memories, movement and a compelling story, “Love Over Dose” is a play about a teen whose sister dies from an overdose – and then he must decide whether he’ll follow in her footsteps or find his own path.

Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day 
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., April 4
FREE admission for two people with valid ticket

Explore all 12 locations of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites by presenting a Museum Day ticket, which includes FREE general museum admission or two people, on April 4. Download tickets beginning Feb. 27 at

Pinewood Derby
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., April 7-11; Race Day April 11
Included with purchase of museum admission; $7/scouts and each family member

Experience Indiana’s second greatest spectacle in racing! Race your derby car down our 125-foot track from the second story of the museum to see how fast your car can fly. Bring your own car, or choose one from the museum’s line-up, then experience the thrill of victory or agony of defeat in the quest to find car perfection. New this year, you can also build your own car before you race.

Arbor Day and Eco-Science Challenge
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., April 24
Included with purchase of museum admission

Celebrate spring by planting a tree. Receive a tree sapling to take home and plant (while supplies last). Explore the benefits of trees, test your tree IQ, create your own tree ID book and discover what trees are right at home in Indiana – and which ones are not. Plus, see student projects from the annual Eco-Science Challenge from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., where students will present possible solutions to global climate issues.


Adult Programs

Quirky Queries (ages 21+)
Explore the off-beat and unusual in this program series just for adults, featuring different experts from the museum speaking on various topics – from underwear to taxidermy.

6 to 9 p.m.
6 to 7 p.m.: Happy hour and activities
7 to 8:15 p.m.: Program
8:15 to 9 p.m.: Activities
$10/members, $15/non-members
Ticket price includes one signature cocktail or Sun King beer.

Jan. 14 – Undies Through the Ages 

Learn about underwear in the museum’s collection! Join our director of collections to learn about these unique artifacts and hear some behind-the-scenes scoop.

April 21 – Pantsuits and Politics

How does fashion play a role in politics? Learn about items in the museum’s collection worn by female politicians, and discover how fashion throughout history reflects societal changes.

DIY Workshops (ages 15+)
Get crafty and creative during these one-of-a-kind workshops where you can learn to create a craft for yourself.

2 to 4 p.m.
$7/members, $10/non-members
All teens must be accompanied by an adult.

Feb. 10 – Be Mine DIY

Roses are red, violets are blue, the museum has valentines waiting for you! Pop in to create Valentine cards for the special someone in your life. Learn unique card-making skills, and hear stories of valentines from the museum’s collection. Take home whatever you make – and let us clean up the glittery mess left behind. Registration required by Feb. 9 by visiting or calling 317.232.1637.

March 16 – Egg Dyeing DIY

Hop on over to learn several unique techniques for egg dyeing, just in time for Easter. Registration required by March 12 by visiting or calling 317.232.1637.

Courageous Conversations (ages 15+)
Join your neighbors in discussing real issues impacting your community today, and hear stories from people affected.
6 to 8 p.m.
Free for members, $5/non-members, $2/students with valid ID

Feb. 27 – Reducing Stigma 

Join the discussion on our newest exhibit, FIX, and learn how to reduce stigma surrounding opioid use disorder. Afterward, ask questions of the panel and experience the exhibit.

April 16 – Trailblazing Women, the Indiana Suffragists

Learn about the bold and daring women in underrepresented communities that were advocating for the right to vote, in celebration of the Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial. Then, experience the art of women activists in our new exhibit, Cause and Æffect.

Adult Nights Out: Contraptions and Creations (ages 15+)

6 to 9 p.m., March 12
$7/members, $10/non-members

Join us for an after-hours look at our new experience, Rube Goldberg™: The World of Hilarious Invention! Exhibit, and enjoy an evening of tinkering and engineering. One signature non-alcoholic beverage or signature cocktail included in ticket price. Those younger than age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. 

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The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites 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.