The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites is making what it calls a "bold transformation" ahead of its 150th anniversary in 2019. The museum is renovating various exhibits and preservation work is underway at several historic sites throughout the state.
The museum will unveil the newly-renovated Natural Regions, Contested Territory and 19th State galleries on November 3. These projects are part of the first of five phases of renovations, which are expected to continue over the next three years.
"Because of all the changes in technology, we are changing the way we tell Indiana’s stories," said Tom King, chief executive officer of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites. "We are boldly transforming our galleries to change how visitors experience Indiana’s history. We’re creating more immersive, interactive exhibitions, as well as creating spaces that can be changed on a regular basis so that visitors will have something new to enjoy each time they visit."
The second phase of renovations is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2017 and will include updates to the museum’s Ice Age and Prehistoric Native Americans galleries and the Naturalist Lab. The final phase is expected to be complete in the fall of 2019.
"By the completion of phase five construction in 2019, guests will get to travel through space and time—from the distant past to the possible future and back, all in a way that’s more interactive, more immersive and hands-on and more relevant to 21st century audiences," said Beth Van Why, associate vice president of exhibitions.
The museum is also touting transformations at historic sites throughout the state, including the multi-million dollar interpretive center at the Levi Coffin house in Fountain City, which will open in December. The facility will tell the story of Indiana’s connection to the Underground Railroad.
Preservation work has also been completed at the Corydon Capitol State Historic Site and the Selma Steele gardens at T.C. Steele State Historic Site in Nashville. The museum says more updates will be made to historic structures throughout the state between now and 2019.