Inhabiting the former Auburn Automobile Company's national headquarters, the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum brings visitors up to speed on highway history through interactive exhibits and a collection of more than 120 cars from the 19th and 20th centuries. Six galleries of fine automobiles adorn the space, each with a different theme and rotating assortment of retro roadsters. The Gallery of Classics houses a 1932 Duesenberg Model J Murphy convertible sedan, one of only 32 such examples bodied by the Walter M. Murphy Company that year. Non-automobile galleries range from a Clay Model Studio and a Hall of Technology to the original Auburn conference room, honoring art deco ingenuity with classic built-in banker’s lamps and chalkboard sketches for a flying car powered by the sound of jazz trumpet.
An individual membership to the National Military History Center grants one individual and one guest free admission to its family of museums during normal business days and events (some events may require an additional admission fee):
From within an open, sunny gallery space, Artlink's contemporary art gallery delights members with a wide array of stunningly crafted works from emerging and midcareer artists. Meander amid the multifarious art with unlimited free admission, absorbing nine expertly curated annual exhibits, including the regional members’ show, which features recent works from Regional Exhibition award winners in any medium, be it photographs, sculptures, or marshmallow fluff. In addition to unhindered art safaris in the galleries, members are privy to a smattering of benefits including subscription to Artlink’s quarterly newsletter Genre and 10% off supplies at Great Panes Glass Company. Practicing artists can finally stop paying their cat to model for sketches by signing up for classes with a membership discount, or schmooze with the contemporary-art elite at exhibit openings.
In 1939, Everett Cook purchased what would become the Cook family farm and was told it was the worst investment he had ever made. But in the spirit of tenacious American homesteaders, three generations of Cooks turned that bad investment into a thriving bison ranch. After years of research, Peter Cook—Everett’s grandson—became a member of the National Bison Association, and ordered the ranch's first 30 bison in 1998. The hulking, majestic curiosities began drawing in groups from area schools, cross-country motor-coach tours, and time-traveling harmonica players to the 83-acre farm in northern Indiana's Amish country.
During the ranch’s signature one-hour tour, guests board a wagon and venture out to interact with and feed the animals as guides regale them with facts about North American bison. After the tour, groups can also sit down for a meal of bison burgers or bison brats. The animals receive no growth hormones or stimulants and graze on the ranch's own hay and grain, which produces tender and healthy meat, unlike animals fed with growth hormones, which produces meat that won’t stop quoting Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. Bison burgers, brats, and steaks are available for purchase online or inside the ranch's gift shop. In addition to the tours, the ranch also allows guests to hunt their own game during guided hunts, taking home bison, deer, and wild turkey.
The Butterfly House fills its lush indoor botanical garden with more than a thousand butterflies, creating a tranquil and meditative space for guests to relax and take in the wonderful natural variety present in a single order of organisms. Representing diverse species from the Americas and Asia, this well-traveled population of Lepidopteras likes to flutter about, sipping nectar, and basking in the sun, much like an international beach party. Since butterflies live for a fleeting two to three weeks, the facility brings in more creatures and new species regularly, making each visit unique. The knowledgeable staff helps patrons learn about every stage of this magnificent creature’s life cycle, from its awkward pupa days to the search for a mate and, in twilight, retiring from its professional nectar collecting career to pursue a nectar collecting hobby.
At Northside Galleries, $90 worth of services goes a long way, approximately furnishing a black-framed single mat for an 11”x14” diploma ($95), a single floated mat and mounting for a framed 10”x12” piece of art ($89), or a double-matted glossy 8”x10” ($99) for a portrait of a cow balancing a papaya on its nose. Northside has more framing options than even Teddy Roosevelt can shake a stick at, though 30 framing profiles are handy for quick project solutions. Standard and acid-free mountings are available, along with stretching for jerseys and glass with reflection control and UV reduction. Frames range from plain to museum quality in a variety of styles ($3.50/foot to $70/foot), so take your time while perusing the chevrons of potential style.