Indy March Museum Must-Sees


Slide down a 47-foot-long river of chocolate at the Children’s Museum.

The Yule Slide is typically only open during the winter holidays, but through April 17, visitors can slide down a chocolate-themed version of the popular attraction.

“We decided to build upon the popularity of the Yule Slide and thought chocolate would be a fun theme, as it would be up during Valentine’s Day,” Leslie Olsen, the Children’s Museum’s Public Relations manager, said.

Visitors can see a princess pirate sculpture carved from 65 pounds of real (and aromatic) chocolate, or snack on a treat at the Chocolate Café, whose offerings include everything from chocolate-covered Oreos to chocolate cotton candy.

Olsen said another upcoming exhibit of potential interest to college students is “Beyond Spaceship Earth,” which arrives at the museum June 25.

Olsen said “Beyond Spaceship Earth” will be a permanent exhibit that will recreate portions of the International Space Station. Directed by an astronaut who helped build the ISS, Dr. David Wolf, Olsen said the exhibit will provide visitors an up-close look at what it’s like to live and work in space.

“The all-new Schaefer Planetarium and Space Object Theater will feature the NASA space capsule Liberty Bell 7, which was piloted by astronaut and Indiana native Gus Grissom in 1961 on America’s second manned space flight,” she said.

“Beyond Spaceship Earth” will also feature an Indiana Astronaut Hall of Fame celebrating astronauts and engineers with Indiana connections.

The Children’s Museum (3000 N. Meridian St.) is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Get up close and personal with Abraham Lincoln’s bench mallet at the Indiana State Museum.

How often do you get the chance to see a Lincoln artifact that hasn’t been on public display for 187 years?

Visitors take a trip down the Children’s Museum’s chocolate slide, open through April 17 (photo courtesy of the Children's Museum)

Visitors take a trip down the Children’s Museum’s chocolate slide, open through April 17 (photo courtesy of the Children's Museum)

Bruce Williams, Indiana State Museum Public Relations Director, said the museum’s Lincoln mallet is a must-see because “there has been almost nothing physical that connects Abraham Lincoln to the state of Indiana.”

Even though the tool dates from 1829, only one family apart from the Lincolns has ever owned it.

A 21-year-old Lincoln gave the mallet to one of his neighbors, Barnabas Carter, when he was clearing out some of his things in preparation for his move from Indiana to Illinois. Carter gave it to his son, and the mallet was passed down through five generations until it reached the hands of Keith Carter, Barnabas Carter’s great-great-great-great grandson, who lent it to the State Museum for a year in honor of Indiana’s bicentennial.

“The mallet is an extremely rare and important find that connects Abraham Lincoln to his Hoosier roots and to the rail-splitter legend that every school kid in America has been taught for 150 years,” Dale Ogden, the chief curator of history and culture at the State Museum, said.

The mallet is about a foot long and contains the inscription “A.L. 1829.” The young Lincoln used it to split logs into rails and later to drive pegs into furniture.

Though the mallet was a previously unknown artifact from Lincoln’s time in Indiana, there is almost no question as to its authenticity.

“Mr. Lincoln didn’t hand it to me personally,” Ogden said. “But I’d put my reputation—and a chunk of cash—on its authenticity.”

In addition to the mallet, Williams said another good attraction for college students, regardless if they are new to Indiana or were born and raised in the state, is the museum’s new “Museum Hack” tours, which “are designed to be fun, quirky, and interesting.”

According to the Museum Hack website, the tours encourage visitors to see the museum in a new light by “featuring other sides to the highlights we love, as well as some of the strangest, wildest, sexiest stories hidden throughout the museum.”

“Some students think of museums as stuffy,” Williams said. “but we try and make learning about Indiana as unique, fun, and interesting as possible.”

The Indiana State Museum (650 W. Washington St.) is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Take in an IUPUI Herron professor’s award-winning sculpture at the Indiana State Museum.

The Lincoln bench mallet, which will be on display at the Indiana State Museum through 2016 (photo courtesy of the Indiana State Museum).

The Lincoln bench mallet, which will be on display at the Indiana State Museum through 2016 (photo courtesy of the Indiana State Museum).

IUPUI Herron School of Art professor Anila Quayyum Agha won the $300,000 ArtPrize in 2014 for her sculpture “Intersections,” a laser-cut wood cube with a single light bulb suspended in the center. The bulb projects geometric patterns through the carvings onto the walls of the room where the sculpture is displayed.

According to Agha, the design of “Intersections” was inspired by geometrical patterns in Islamic sacred spaces such as the Alhambra in Spain.

The piece is currently on display at the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts, but it will be showcased at the State Museum beginning March 19. This will be the first time the piece has been on display locally.   

The Indiana State Museum (650 W. Washington St.) is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.