The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites preserves, interprets and presents material evidence of Indiana’s cultural and natural history in a context that encourages people to actively participate in discovering the world — as it was, as it is and as it can be.
The Indiana State Museum began in 1869 as a diverse collection of artifacts, specimens, and Civil War memorabilia housed in various locations including the State House and the old City Hall. In 1919, the museum became part of the Department of Conservation, now the Department of Natural Resources. In May 2002 a new 270,000 square foot facility opened to the public. The facility includes IMAX Theater, food service, gift shop, universally designed accessible core exhibitions and temporary exhibition galleries, state-of the art conservation labs, collection management facilities and compact collection storage. The museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums, recognizing that it meets the highest professional standards. The 11 State Historic Sites range throughout the state, preserving and interpreting pre-historic and historic archaeological sites and several historic buildings and communities.
Currently the Indiana State Museum & Historic Sites holds a collection of over 542,000 cultural and natural history items and over 25,000 items from the newly acquired Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection. With 21,190 square feet of state-of-the-art, high-security collection storage designed for different types of cultural and historical materials, as well as an additional 6,905 square feet for the natural history collections, the Indiana State Museum is superbly equipped to care for the collections and create new exhibitions and educational experiences for the museum and historic sites.
The museum and sites display collections that tell Indiana’s story and celebrate the state’s achievements through the arts, culture and sciences by featuring a dynamic schedule of changing exhibitions and programs. Annual attendance at the museum and sites for 2009 totaled 659,004 visitors including paid/unpaid attendance to special events and related outreach, public programs and workshops. The museum serves approximately 60,000 K-12 students each year and offers free admission to all Indiana teachers and to all schools where 40 percent or more of the students receive free or reduced lunch.
The Indiana State Museum is the soul of Indiana ... where science and culture meet for adventure and learning. Spend some time with us! You'll be so glad you did.