October 29, 2010

Feature: Indiana State Museum

Kevin and I went to the Indiana State Museum to see the Titanic exhibit on its opening day.  It was also a chance to explore the museum, because neither one of us had ever been there.  Unfortunately, photos were not allowed in the exhibit, but I was able to take photos in other parts of the museum.  I actually took tons, but I'll share just a few.

As we entered the Titanic exhibit, we were greeted by a woman dressed in early 1900s clothing who handed us each a ticket.  This was your souvenir.  Each ticket had the name of a different Titanic passenger.  I was Mrs. John Borland Thayer, a first class passenger.  Kevin was a second class passenger.  On the actual Titanic, the two of us would have never crossed paths.

The exhibit is filled with artifacts, photos, facts, quotes, and a few re-creations.  Visitors can even touch a fresh water iceberg.  The "captain" walked around answering questions and explaining the different class levels on the ship.  He really boosted the experience.

At the end of the exhibit was a list of those who survived and those who died.  Most women and children survived.  Very few men and third class passengers survived.  Most of the crew went down with the ship as well.  I (Mrs. John Borland Thayer) survived.  Kevin did not.

We also checked out the Odd Indiana exhibit.  It was kind of a collection of random things that had been given to the museum.  Lots of weird stuff.

Others parts of the museum showed the history and shaping of Indiana.  Some of it isn't pretty (I won't mention it here), and some of it is great.  Do you know what Bill Blass, Twyla Tharp (one of my heroes), and Cole Porter all have in common?  They're all from Indiana.  I never knew!

Have you heard about the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project?  The Indiana State Museum has a satellite reef.  Crafters will love it.  I thought it was amazing, because I definitely cannot crochet.  You can even create your own reef.  If you'd like to add to the Indiana reef, contact Carol Frohlich of the Indianapolis Crochet Guild at crochetcoral70@lightbound.com.

Let's not forget about food.  The museum has two restaurants for visitors:  the Canal Cafe and Terrace and the L.S. Ayres Tea Room.  Kevin and I ate at the Canal Cafe.  We sat out on the terrace and got a beautiful view of the canal and downtown.

Something memorable that I learned:  During World War II, there was an organization of women called Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).  These women flew non-combat military aircrafts, so that more men could take on combat roles.  The WASP members went unrecognized for years, because the records of their existence had been sealed.  These women were recently honored in 2009 with the Congressional Gold Medal.  Several WASP members were from Indiana.

We really enjoyed our visit to the museum.  Definitely a place to stop by if you're ever in the Indianapolis area.

Indiana State Museum
650 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204