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The Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis - Top-Rated Museum in Indiana

8 Top-Rated Museums in Indiana (2024)

The beautiful state of Indiana is home to some of the most different types of museums. From the world’s biggest children’s museum to a live history museum, Indiana has many wonderful museums that help create a sense of appreciation for a wide variety of topics. These museums are jewels in Indiana’s crown and allow you to explore worlds and times of the past. You not only get to learn about the culture of Indiana but also about other cultures.

8 Top-Rated Museums in Indiana

Here are some of the top-rated museums in Indiana.

1. The Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis

One of the best museums in all of Indiana is the Indiana State Museum, located in Indianapolis. This is the first museum you should head to when you are in Indiana as you can learn everything about the history of Indiana, its statehood journey, constitution, founders, and many famous historical figures throughout the 200-year history of the state.

There is a wide range of exhibits in the museum, including displays that showcase Indiana’s flora and fauna, what the terrain of the state used to be like, and you will also get to find out why the northern part of the state is so much more flatter than the southern part. You get to truly gain a rich understanding of the state of Indiana.

One of the features that stands out the most in the museum is the Pendulum Clock. This exhibit leaves visitors mesmerized by combining both art and science together to build this attraction. Truly no amount of words or description can do justice to this exhibit, and you have to see it yourself to believe it.

2. Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis

Popularly known as only as The Eiteljorg, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art is a huge museum that is home to an extensive and impressive collection of everything related to North American Native art, lifestyle, history, artifacts, etc. The museum is known to be home to the world’s best art collections. Visitors can see a huge variety of exhibitions and collections of both contemporary and ancient Native American artifacts and art. You will also get to view many artifacts from the Old West that Indiana is known for, its cowboys and Indians.

Visitors can use the calendar of the museum to plan their visit. Try to plan your trip around the Artists-in-Residence program, during which the museum plays host to an artist, usually of Native American descent, who specializes in the medium of art hailing from their own culture.

From ceramics to basketry to Navajo weaving and even Inuit throat singing, over the years, over 16 artists-in-residence have been sponsored by the museum to share their talent with guests from all over the world.

3. Indianapolis Children’s Museum

A wondrous place to visit with the entire family is the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. This large and fascinating place is spread over 29 acres in the United Northwest neighborhood of the city. It is known as the largest children’s museum in the world, being home to many different exhibits and hands-on science displays that range from the astronauts living on the International Space Station to the time when dinosaurs roamed the planet.

This museum is a favorite with children of all ages, but at the same time, it provides an incredible learning experience for the parents as well. Out of the many collections housed here, you will find thousands of artifacts, interactive experiences, and photo opportunities. Some of the popular exhibits you can check out at this famous museum include a children’s theater, planetarium, and many outdoor exhibits, including the hugely awe-inspiring Tree of Sports playground.

Some of the other must-see exhibits here include the 43-foot tall Dale Chihuly glass sculpture, and an interactive playscape that is designed just for preschoolers, and many full-sized dinosaur skeletons, including one of the few mummified dinosaurs in the world.

Apart from offering full-day family outings, the museum also arranges numerous daily events and programs. Some of these exciting events include costume-building workshops, Astronaut Training aboard the International Space Station, and a Secrets of the Lab series where children get to indulge in many do-it-yourself science projects. Another unique feature of this children’s museum is a restored carousel that dates back to 1917, located on the fourth level of the facility.

4. Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum

This is one of the most unique museums in Indiana. There are four car museums located in Northeast Indiana, and they attract visitors from all over the world. Two are located right next to each other, which are the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum and the National Automotive and Truck Museum. Then there’s the Auburn Cord Duesenberg is, one of the most unique museums in the state, and it is displays over 120 cars there are located across three floors. Nine automotive-themed galleries that allow visitors to check out the automotive history. From classic to racing cars, you will find everything displayed here.

An interesting fact is that the original Auburn Automobile Company showroom and its offices are also located inside the museum itself.

Meanwhile, the National Automotive and Truck Museum allows visitors to enjoy two floors worth of some incredible, one-of-a-kind vehicles, class cars, trucks, and prototypes. The highlight of the collection at this museum is the General Motors Futurliner #10, which the General Motors Company used to tour around the US and promote this future technology.

5. Conner Prairie Interactive History Park and Museum

Located in Fishers, the Conner Prairie Interactive History Park is literally a living history museum. For history buffs, this is the best way to dive into the past. Conner Prairie is a unique recreation of how local life used to be like in the 19th century. Not only is this an educational visit, but you will also find many fun and engaging activities to take part in here.

While here, you must check out the William Conner home, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are numerous exhibits, activities, and interactive fun to be had for people of all ages here. This is the perfect attraction to visit in Indiana to take a step back in time and find out what life was like so many decades ago.

6. Grissom Air Museum in Peru

The Grissom Air Museum is a famous military aviation museum located near Peru in Indiana at the Grissom Air Reserve Base. There are over 20 aircraft on display at the museum. The museum opened its doors in 1981. It was established by seven veterans, and since then, the museum has been preserving aircraft located at the Grissom Air Reserve Vase. Today, the museum is home to nearly 32 military aircraft, with 24 being displayed.

Visitors can sit inside the planes and helicopters, including an H1-Huey Helicopter, F-4 Phantom, Bomb Loader, and many more. This museum frequently features in many lists of the best museums in Indiana. However, the museum’s fortunes began to decline in 1992, when the Air Force announced that six airplanes would be relocated to other sites. While today the situation has improved, and there are many artifacts kept here that are related to the US Naval Training Station located at Bunker Hill, the Bunker Hill Air Force Base, and the Grissom Air Force Base.

7. The Indy 500 Museum in Indianapolis

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a must visit for those who want to visit one of the most unique and top rated museums in Indiana. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is home to the famous IndyCar Series, the NASCAR Cup Series, and many other leading races in the US. Unlike other states that have many rules about visiting race tracks, you can head over to this motor speedway to watch many famous races, including the popular Indy 500. Not many people know that you can even take a test drive with an on-track experience with the Indy Racing Experience Driving Program that lets you take a car for a spin.

At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, you get to sit behind the wheels of a near NTT IndyCar Series car, which is a car that has actually taken part and competed in the Indy 500 race. While the speed is up to you, but imagine being able to power up to 180 miles an hour.

After spending some time on the track, you can take a full Indianapolis Motor Speedway tour that is offered by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Here you get access to many behind-the-scenes landmarks at the speedway, including learning about the detailed history of this complex.

At the museum, you will also get to check out several rare sports cars, trophies, and many other unique and unusual artifacts from the world of motorsports that are all showcased here in Indianapolis.

8. Indiana War Memorial in Indianapolis

Spread over 30,000 square feet, the Indiana War Memorial is the perfect museum to visit if you want to see American history chronologically displayed, right from the Revolutionary War right up to the present. The Indiana War Memorial is a museum that stands apart from all other museums in the state.

The basic purpose of the museum is to memorialize, commemorate, and also acknowledge America’s past while taking visitors through the many wars the country has taken part in, its victories, losses, and especially paying homage to the lives that were lost.

The museum is home to a collection of thousands of pieces of military equipment, uniforms, weapons, and a variety of other artifacts from the wars that have been fought. The museum also focuses on educating tourists on the role Indiana played in the history of America’s wars and military forces.

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