We found some extra time on our hands while in Indianapolis for Thanksgiving, so journeyed to the History Center to see what we could learn about the Hoosier State! Wow! Their web site claims that they have a new way to experience history, and they aren't making idle claims. We were most impressed with the "You are there" exhibits. Researchers at the musuem choose photographs of a certain event or era, then recreate a live exhibit, keeping everything historically accurate. We experienced an exhibit on the prohibition era (talked to a jailed person and two guards, as well as a temperance leader), another on ending polio (talked to workers who were packaging the life-saving new vaccine while awaiting federal approval for it), and our favorite, a 1939 exhibit on the use of the electrocardiograph -- and what life was like for black physicians. The people in the exhibits entertain questions from the visitors, but keep their answers historically accurate. Their dress, mannerisms, vocabulary, as well as the background and props, all are re-created from historical photograhs. There is even an exhibit elsewhere in the musuem that details the painstaking process of creating these live exhibits.
Don't miss the Cole Porter room, where a muscian will sing your favorite Cole Porter songs in a beautiful lounge!
There is a great movie presentation about Indiana at the beginning, with an opportunity to sit and enjoy the entire presentation or get up and investigate an era at a time at separate stations.
There is also a great display of famous Hoosiers, where one can sit and enjoy the presentation at any time, since it runs in a continual loop.
And there is even a display about the origins of the word "Hoosier!" Who knew?
Each display (and there are many) was thoughtfully presented, but the whole experience was designed for all kinds of people: those who prefer to move, those who prefer to sit, those who like to talk (!), those who prefer to listen. But everyone must come with a sense of curiosity!
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