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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.

Year 2002

Size 48,000 square feet

Architect RATIO

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Photography © Albert Vecerka/Esto