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Indiana State Museum

Indianapolis, Indiana

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The Indiana State Museum is a multi-disciplinary museum dedicated to telling the story of the state from prehistoric times to the present day. RAA was commissioned to draw from a comprehensive 500,000-strong collection of social, cultural, and natural history artifacts, along with media and interactives, to bring Indiana’s history to life.

Indiana State Museum
Indiana State Museum

Two attention-grabbing sights greet visitors as they enter the Great Hall: Indiana, a 55-foot totem and the largest sculpture ever made by native son Robert Indiana, and the historic three-story façade of Oscar C. McCulloch School No. 5, built to serve disadvantaged children.

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Indiana State Museum_4
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Once inside, the experience is organized across three floors and 40,000 square feet of exhibit space. Visitor journey along the Hoosier Heritage Trail, where digital portals in every gallery invite them to retrieve information about the state’s heritage. In the naturalists’ lab, with views to adjacent galleries, visitors use interactives and hands-on features to engage with specimens, programs, demonstrations, and nature classes.

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First Nations focuses on how ancestors of today’s Native Americans built vibrant communities focused around many aspects that still cement cultures today: games, foods, and traditions passed down through generations.

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The journey concludes in the audience-controlled Futures Gallery, where visitors forecast their own and the state’s future. A contemporary-art gallery showcases present-day creative production.

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The museum aims to empower visitors of all ages by acting as a catalyst for lifelong learning that connects the stories of real people, places, and things.

Size 48,000 square feet

Year 2002

Architect RATIO

Project Details

ScriptwritingPaul Rosenthal

Acoustical EngineerJaffe Holden Acoustics, Inc.

Lighting DesignerTechnical Artistry

Exhibit Fabrication & CoordinationMaltbie Associates

Exhibit FabricationTaylor Studios Inc., Research Casting International, Hamilton Exhibits, Icon Exhibits Icon, Artificial Rock Corp., Perry Acoustics

Artifact MountingSanders Museum Services

Audio-Visual PresentationsNinetheenth Star LLC (Executive Producer); Donna Lawrence Productions, Cortina Productions, Access Technology, Bennett Innovations, Bowen Productions, Bradley David Productions, DL Images, Michiana Telecasting Corp.WNDU-TV, NVP Video Communications, Inc., Sound Thinking (Producers)

Interactive MediaCortina Productions, Blair, Dubilier & Associates

Earth Globe InstallationArc Science Simulations

AV Systems DesignElectrosonic Sytems, Inc.

AV Systems IntegrationElectrosonic Sytems, Inc., Bowen Productions

LightingEdison Price

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Photography © Albert Vecerka/Esto