THINGS EVERY HISTORY BUFF SHOULD DO IN INDY

You value the story behind a destination - the people and events that made things how they are today. You’ve got a talent for research with an encyclopedic knowledge of dates, facts, and important events.

You’re likely to be found exploring museums, archives, and libraries to satisfy your begging curiosity. You’re a history buff, who looks at the past as a mystery waiting to be uncovered.


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Conner Prairie

A Smithsonian-affiliate making history come alive

  • Span 200 years of American history at Conner Prairie, including real stories of Indians and fur traders, pioneer town life and Civil War skirmishes
  • Visit where it all got started, the red brick home of fur trapper, War of 1812 veteran, and statesman, William Conner
  • Live through the nightmarish raid of Civil War Confederate soldiers as they attacked Dupont, a southern Indiana town
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Indiana Historical Society

Showcasing History in New Ways

  • Explore the Camp Atterbury “You Are There” experience that focuses on the POWs who built a chapel on the grounds of Atterbury for worship
  • After Camp Atterbury, travel to 1877 to Colonel Eli Lilly's original laboratory on Pearl Street in Indianapolis
  • Discover Destination Indiana and its thousands of historic photos
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Indiana State Museum

History of the Hoosier State

  • Explore unique stories, events, and characters that have helped shape Indiana's history
  • Learn about Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood in Indiana and see a rare artifact, his rough-hewn wood mallet, dated and initialed A.L. 1829 
  • After visiting, explore White River State Park's other award-winning attractions
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Indianapolis City Market

Fresh Foods and Beers in Historic Marketplace

  • First opened in 1886, the Indianapolis City Market is the city’s original foodie’s haven
  • Today, the stand holders serve up a world of dishes, from Middle Eastern to Greek, Mexican, and Indian, along with favorite American fare
  • Don’t miss a tour of the Market’s historic (and a bit creepy) Romanesque underground catacombs 
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Indiana State Museum

The Hoosier Story from the Beginning of Time to Today

  • Experience the breadth of American history and culture through the unique lens of the Hoosier state
  • Learn about Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood in Indiana and see a rare artifact, his rough-hewn wood mallet, dated and initialed A.L. 1829 
  • Round out your day by exploring other great attractions in White River State Park 
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Monuments & Memorials

Indy has More Memorials than any City Except Washington DC

Aside from Washington, D.C., Indy is home to more monuments and memorials than any other city in the U.S., and that’s because the designer protégé (Ralston) of the architect who platted Washington, D.C. (L’Enfant) came to Indianapolis to plat the Circle City.

MONUMENTS & MEMORIALS GUIDE

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Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site

Inside the Life and Times of a U.S. President

  • Harrison was our 23rd president and his home tells of his life in Indy
  • The Italianate mansion features Victorian furnishings and welcomes groups for tours and interactive Civil War Dinners
  • Hear back stories about Harrison, both funny and poignant, that bring appreciation to a president who is not among our country's most famous
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Madame Walker Theatre Center

The Legacy of America’s First Self-Made Female Millionaire

  • Madam CJ Walker’s story is inspiring, an African-American woman who fought the odds to develop a successful business
  • Take a building tour and also discover the history of Indiana Avenue, the center of the Black experience in Indy
  • Check out Jazz on the Avenue concerts and other programs
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The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

History Disguised as Fun

  • The world’s largest children’s museum teaches history in sneaky ways
  • Turn your watch back 65 million years and be on the lookout for tyrannosaurs, triceratops, and Maiasauras roaming at Dinosphere
  • Make friends with Egyptian mummies, Chinese warriors, and swashbuckling pirates at the Treasures of the Earth exhibition
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Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library

Learn About the Man Behind the Books

  • See Vonnegut’s drawings and doodles (including Kilgore Trout), his reading glasses, Purple Heart, and more
  • Browse first editions of every Vonnegut novel, several signed editions, films based on his work, and nearly 300 magazines featuring reviews, short stories, and political commentary
  • Wander over to Mass Ave and find the giant Vonnegut mural on the side of a building
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Oldfields-Lilly House & Gardens

Historic country estate home

  • Journey back to the 1930s for a glimpse of country estate living in the luxurious, elegant home of J.K. Lilly, Jr. and his family
  • Walk through the French Chateau style mansion’s 22 rooms and its period furnishings
  • Free guided walks through IMA's gardens are offered April through September on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 pm
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Black Literature and Culture

Explore the rich heritage of African-American Hoosiers

  • Interactive displays, books, and images highlighting African American heroes who changed the world
  • Free and open to the public at the Indianapolis Central Library 
 
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Cassie's Guide to Historic Indy

President of Prized Indy Landmark

Between running one of Indy’s most popular historic venues, the Athenaeum, and leading Indy’s largest yoga event on the steps of our beloved Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Cassie Stockamp knows a thing or two about historic attractions in Indy. Follow along as Cassie shares her favorite spots in Indy.

INDY LIKE A LOCAL: CASSIE STOCKAMP

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Omni Severin Hotel

A Century of Service and Style

  • It’s a landmark property first opened in 1913 that is complete with all the amenities and service expected in a top hotel today
  • The hotel is Indy's longest-standing Four Diamond property
  • Located along lively Illinois and Georgia Streets, the hub of downtown’s historic Wholesale District

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