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“Beautiful building...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Indiana State Museum

Indiana State Museum
650 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204
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Ranked #26 of 196 things to do in Indianapolis
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Attraction details
Owner description: Explore one of Indianapolis' top attractions The Indiana State Museum in White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis is the place to go to uncover Indiana’s secrets. The museum houses exhibits on science, art, culture and history of Indiana from prehistoric times up to the present day. The museum provides stunning views and architecture, making it a great venue for weddings, special events or meetings. Home to the famous L.S. Ayres Tea Room restaurant, the Indiana Store gift shop, and the IMAX Theater, Indiana’s largest movie screen.
Cumberland, Indiana
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
47 attraction reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
“Beautiful building...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2013

I like visiting this, it seems a little less geared to young kids than the old one that i miss so much, but we get spoiled with kiddie stuff to do these days, so I think with the target audience, they do a very nice job. We have a membership so with any place you tend to tire of it a little more than if it wasn't so accessible to you. Its wonderful to visit and be right on the canal, I like the path on the outside of the building with the little fun facts along the way. I'v'e seen some beautiful wedding pictures from the canal and receptions at this venue too.

Visited January 2013
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224 reviews from our community

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Indianapolis, Indiana
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
22 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Lucas Strikes Back”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2013


Several issues with the Star Wars exhibit. It costs $20.00 to see the exhibit which consists of several nice pieces from the franchise but the desrciptions are weak and the models, which are amazing, don't merit the cost. I've seen models like that at Hobby Town and I didn't have to pay the fee. I understand the magic of movie making and the process of making things look more impressive than they are but for twenty dollars it isn't worth it for children. The kids want to be a part of Star Wars not look at how fake it looks.

I saw several children less than impressed with Darth Vaders costume's control panel and the fact that it looks like a block of wood.

The coolest thing at the exhibit is the chance to sit in the Falcon's cockpit, which is an addtional $5 and would be worth it if included some action from the movies but the space lesson narrated by the C3PO dude is less than enjoyable. I would rather just jump in and out of light speed for ten minutes but at least they tried.

Bottom line is, if you don't want to ruin the magic of movie making leave the kids at home or skip it all together. Besides the entire exhibit takes about 15 minutes to navigate. Spend your money at the theatre where the magic still exists.

No good Mr Lucas or whoever you sold out to. Bad form.

Visited June 2013
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Homer Glen, Illinois
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Star Wars Exhibit is Great”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2013 via mobile

The Star Wars Exhibit was top notch for adults and had great hands on experiments for kids. The rest of the museum didn't have too much to offer but was still fun and in an awesome location.

Visited June 2013
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Terre Haute, Indiana, United States
1 review
“Great IMAX and exhibits, cafe prices outrageous”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2013

The overall experience was totally awesome! The IMAX there is so cool and the exhibits are interesting and full of learning fun. It's a must-see while in Indy.

Be forewarned though, the prices in the cafe are outrageous, $9 for a simple sandwich, by itself, is beyond insane and the seats at the IMAX aren't big-girl friendly, which sucks because you won't know that until you go in after paying. The theater prices are to be expected, much more reasonable than the cafe's prices. Also, the security there is tight, so be prepared to pay before going anywhere near the exhibits.

Overall, I'd recommend the museum and I go there periodically. There aren't admission fees for the building and the view is amazing by the canal. But be sure to eat BEFOREHAND or expect to pay out the wazoo for a sandwich that you make at home, or anything there for that matter. They aren't anything fancy.

Visited June 2013
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Indiana, USA
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
57 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
119 helpful votes 119 helpful votes
“Makes Me Proud to be a Hoosier!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2013

I love travel and have been fortunate enough to have seen many wonderful museums whilst traveling across the United States of America and abroad. Recently, I played host to people who visited me from out of state and wanted to learn a bit more about Indiana. They asked where in Indianapolis to visit and I had realized that I had never really played tourist in my own back yard. Over this summer my goal has been to plan a few weekend get-away’s to Indiana locations. So, I recently had a day off and decided to visit the Indiana State Museum. What was supposed to be a casual 2 to 3 hour time turned into a full 5 hour day at this museum.

I got to the museum about 45 minutes before it opened and was so glad that I did. I toured the area around the museum in the White River Park and Canal districts. I must say that it is in a beautiful location situated next to a man-made canal that goes though Indianapolis. I enjoyed the amazing building from the outside and must say that its architecture is stunning. Get to the museum early and notice that all of our states counties are represented in art actually attached to the limestone, brick, and glass building in sculpture and designs (there are 92 to search for).

The museum tickets come single for the main exhibit and they have affordable touring exhibits as well as Indiana’s first IMAX theatre for an “add on package deal” (Please Note: there are discounts for children and seniors). I began with an exhibit in the Legacy Theatre on African American Struggles in Indiana from Pre Civil War through the 1960’s, which was very informative and moving. Then, I began my tour of the 3 story museum.

The museum is very well laid out and begins on the first floor with a brief 15 minute video on our state. Next, I was amazed at the amazing detail that the museum goes to in explaining the geographic and prehistoric formation of the area. In fact, this was much better in explaining the formation of the Earth and Indiana than a many earth-science museums I have been to. The way they made over 4,000 million years of formation of our state tangible was better than a college class I took on Earth Science (WOW)! Check out the interactive Indiana globe and amazing display of gem, mineral and rock formations from Indiana. They also display a wide range of dioramas and fossils and a Mastodon found up north in Fort Wayne. The amount of interaction is brilliant.

The second floor is about Indiana after it gained statehood and is very moving in its sense of interaction for adults as well as children. I am the kind of person who reads everything and so it took a good 2 and a half hours to go through this part. So many artifacts from the native tribes, French trading, British involvement, Tecumseh and “Mad Anthony” Wayne to pioneers, the civil war, Industrial Revolution to WWI, WWII, Motown, the *0’s and modern day… they have a representative token. I suggest that you listen because the narrative and music in the background is beyond moving. I loved the part with the famous Hoosiers. On this floor there are two places to eat the Ayers Tea Room (a reproduction) and the museum café. I ate at the café and had a great meal.

The final floor has another gallery for touring exhibits. At the time it had an exhibit on the Lincoln Family from Abraham Lincoln’s father through his great grandchildren (they died off). This little exhibit was a gem and the memorabilia was worth 45 minutes to look at (the docent was extremely knowledgeable). The museum also had a touring Star Wars exhibit that was very well done and I could imagine that any touring exhibit would be good here. I did not see an IMAX show whilst at the museum but I did visit the 2 story gift shop. Overall, I was at this museum for way longer than first expected and it was worth every minute. By the way the staff was extreme in hospitality and friendliness.

I have to say that I have a love-hate relationship with Indiana, but this museum made me extremely proud to be a Hoosier. It really is a museum that is worthy of high praise and defiantly tops many other state museums I have visited. Way to step up your game Indiana! Bravo.

Visited June 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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