In 1830, a group of history enthusiasts formed a club around a pledge to delve deep into their state’s history and record each decade’s goings-on. So were the humble beginnings of the Indiana Historical Society, now an expansive home for artifacts, images, and a library, all showcasing the state's rich past.
One of the facility's main attractions, the Indiana Experience sculpts the Indiana Historical Society's research into interactive exhibits and programs to forge personal connections between modern populations and their regional predecessors. Within, actors interpret the lives of historical figures and interact with three-dimensional re-creations of historic photographs in the You Are There series, staging periods such as in 1955: Ending Polio, when workers at the Eli Lilly and Company packing line rushed to get shipments of the polio vaccine out the door to help ailing people. Beginning March 26, visitors can also help with the recovery effort after the great flood of 1913, interacting with volunteers to help the flood sufferers and wandering the Wulf’s Hall Relief Station.
The William H. Smith Memorial Library also maintains a can't-miss archive of documents that explore Indiana's history, including films, sheet music, and commemorative coins and medals, as well as more than 1.7 million photographs. When hunger makes its way onto agendas, visitors can dine indoors at Stardust Terrace Café or outdoors on its canal-side patio, returning on select summer nights to gather along the water for special events such as the Concerts on the Canal series.