Museums

Visiting a museum is always a unique experience, as each one has its own distinct characteristics, style, and of course, content. Museum subjects vary greatly from city to city, and can range from firefighter's museums to fine art, to sports. If you need help making a selection, our 10Best list highlights the top spots to visit in Indianapolis.

10 Indianapolis Art Center
Top quality art exhibits made by artists who are locally and nationally renowned are displayed in this fine arts center. Those who have an interest in art or a particular talent that they aren't sure what to do with are encouraged to take one of the many art classes that are offered. From drawing and photography to oil painting, there is something here to help aspiring artists of all skill levels reach their full potential. (317-255-2464)

9 American Legion Mall and Headquarters Museum
Memorabilia from both World Wars and Vietnam are on display in this interesting museum. A wide range of paraphernalia used by the US military is showcased, providing visitors with a glimpse of what many of the brave soldiers had with them on the battlefield. Also part of their collection are more than 2500 posters from both World Wars and an original draft of 1944 GI Bill of Rights. Outside, American Legion Mall is greenspace that is home the state's Korean and Vietnam memorials. (317-630-1200)

8 Freetown Village Living History Museum
Part of the State Museum, Freetown Village is a living history museum that lets visitors get a glimpse of the lives of free African Americans living in 1870, just five years after the end of the Civil War. Costumed actors represent composite characters determined from the 1870 Indianapolis census, and the geography of the exhibit focuses on the city's old Fourth Ward. The museum offers an outstanding program called "Evening Dinner with Freetown Village," a unique chance for you to experience a historically focused, family-style meal including the likes of smothered cabbage, black-eyed pea soup and cornmeal hoecakes. (317-631-1870, 317-236-2099)

7 Indiana State Museum
Located in White River State Park, this museum brings the past to life with its exhibits on Indiana history, from pre-historic times to present. It also includes displays that explore nature, the arts, science and culture. The facility boasts approximately 300,000 artifacts filling over 40,000 square feet of exhibit space. Two restaurants and a museum shop are also located on the premises. (317-232-1637)

6 Children's Museum of Indianapolis
Adults and children of all ages enjoy viewing and participating in the many hands-on exhibits provided by this interesting museum. A life-size learning tree is the setting for reading time, and a real stage is set up for precious puppet shows. Scientific exhibits, an arts and crafts area, and toys from the past are also included. Be sure to visit the huge stuffed polar bear and the water clock, which are two of the most popular attractions. (317-334-3322, 800-208-5437)

5 Indianapolis Museum of Art
Set amid beautifully landscaped grounds, this fascinating museum treats visitors to a variety of African, Asian and European works and artifacts. Among its holdings are Native American and South Pacific art, decorative items that date to the 14th century, textiles and rugs, contemporary art, and prints, drawings and photography. The museum complex also features Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park and Oldfields-Lilly House & Gardens. Restaurants and a gift shop are available. (317-920-2660)

4 Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
The exhibits displayed in this museum illustrate various aspects of life in America's Wild West. A number of the works bear the names of such renowned artists as Georgia O'Keeffe and Frederick Remington. Some of the displays highlight artifacts chronicling the trials and tribulations of the lives of Native Americans. The souvenir shop includes a number of items that would make a perfect gift for someone special or a great keepsake for yourself. (317-636-9378)

3 Indiana Medical History Museum
The historical pathology lab in which this museum resides is one of the oldest in the nation. Its primary purpose was to provide a base for the study of mental illness; as such, surgical tools from the 1800s are on display, as are a doctor's kit from the Civil War and patent medicines. Visitors with a particular interest in medical history may want to peruse a book on rare diseases in the library or sit in on a seminar in the lecture hall. (317-635-7329)

2 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum
Inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, guests find 30,000 square feet filled with race scoring equipment, replica garages, trophies, including the Borg-Warner Trophy, and 75 preserved racecars. Exhibited in chronological order, these winning Indy 500 cars demonstrate how racing has changed through innovation in the past century. After touring this National Historic Landmark, patrons can also request a tour of the famous oval track. (317-492-6784)

1 Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
The charming, three-story home of America's 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison, is now open to the public as a museum. Built brick-by-brick in the 1800s, this historic house displays an astounding collection of original family pieces. Arrive on the hour or half hour between 10am and 3:30pm to participate in a guided tour through the building. If you arrive before the tour begins, take some time to enjoy the beautiful gardens surrounding the property. (317-631-1888)

Maps and Directions

1
Indianapolis Art Center 10Best List Arrow
Type: Art Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: Broad Ripple
2
American Legion Mall and Headquarters Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Military, Museums
Neighborhood: WAR MEMORIAL PLAZA HISTORIC DIST
3
Freetown Village Living History Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
4
Indiana State Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: Family Friendly, History Museums, IMAX Theaters, Museums
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
5
Children's Museum of Indianapolis 10Best List Arrow
Type: Children's Museums, Museums, Sightseeing
Neighborhood: Historic Old Northside
6
Indianapolis Museum of Art 10Best List Arrow
Type: Art Museums, Gardens, Museums
Neighborhood: Historic Old Northside
7
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
8
Indiana Medical History Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums, Science Museums
Neighborhood: WAR MEMORIAL PLAZA HISTORIC DIST
9
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: Family Friendly, Historic Sites, History Museums, Libraries / Archives, Museums, Spectator Sports, Uniquely Here
Neighborhood: Speedway
10
Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site 10Best List Arrow
Type: Historic Sites, History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: HISTORIC OLD NORTHSIDE