Traveling exhibits can be set up at your location as an inexpensive way of enhancing your exhibitions, educational programming, events and activities.
Your organization may borrow professional-quality, small traveling exhibitions on a variety of topics. Exhibits are available to local historical societies, museums, schools, libraries, nonprofit organizations and government agencies in Indiana.
Exhibits are free for historical societies and historical museums. Other organizations will be charged a $100 rental fee per exhibit.
Organizations may schedule up to three traveling exhibitions per calendar year. Each exhibit may be borrowed for approximately four to five weeks at a time.
Borrowing organizations normally arrange for traveling exhibits to be shown at their own facility. However, you may arrange to sponsor an exhibition at another site in the community if you wish.
We’ll deliver and set up the exhibit at your site – with the exception of wall-hung exhibitions – as well as take it down at the end of your show. You’ll need to provide storage for the shipping containers while the exhibit is on site.
We’ll provide a sample news release for publicizing your exhibit along with your confirmation. Please don’t announce the exhibition until you receive your written confirmation.
To book an exhibit, please contact Karen DePauw at email@example.com or (317) 233-3110.
Visitors will take a ride through Indiana’s rich automotive past as they discover the Hoosier State’s prolific contributions. From inventors and innovators like Elwood Haynes and Ralph Teetor to automakers like Studebaker and Duesenberg, Indiana has left an indelible mark on the industry for more than a century – and vice versa.
The exhibit illuminates ties between the automobiles and the development of many other economic opportunities for the “Crossroads of America,” such as the iron, steel and glass businesses. It also explores how the automobile became part of American Dream and popular culture, from movies to making personal memories. Guests can also gaze down the road ahead for Hoosiers, from environmental impact of automobiles to a look at manufacturing today. Made possible by Kroger.
Ideas for use: Showcase automobile items from your collection or have a car show at your site while the exhibit is on display. This is a 7-foot tall, freestanding exhibit requiring approximately 200 square feet of floor space.
To book an exhibit, please contact Karen DePauw at firstname.lastname@example.org or (317) 233-3110.
Endangered Heritage, a collections care advocacy exhibit, educates local communities and potential funders about the need for good collections stewardship and to encourage contributions for collections care. It also gives examples of the dangers to objects in collections and information about the collections care needs of Indiana’s organizations.
Endangered Heritage gives examples of some of the most common dangers to objects and documents in Hoosier history collections. The exhibit focuses on the needs of heritage collecting organizations for humidity and temperature controls, adequate storage, and funds to care for their collections. Fortunately, there are solutions to the problems facing Indiana’s heritage collections, and the exhibit suggests ways to help. Visitors to the exhibit will learn how they can assist in preserving Indiana’s history.
Ideas for use: A curriculum/program plan to educate your members and community about the causes of deterioration and how to care for personal collections is also included with the exhibit.
This exhibit consists of 12 one-sided, 2-foot wide, freestanding banner stands. An exhibit table with a secure vitrine (clear display cover) that you can use to feature items from your collection is provided in addition to the banner stands. It can be arranged to fit different floor configurations. It requires at least 100 square feet of floor space.
To book an exhibit, please contact Karen DePauw at email@example.com or (317) 233-3110.
Candidates for political office have visited Indiana throughout the state’s history in an effort to garner support and votes. Since the early years of the electoral political system, Hoosiers have attended rallies, expressed their opinions and participated at the polls. They have supported and opposed candidates, and of course, run for office themselves.
Faces in the Crowd is not the story of the candidates behind the microphone, but of the individual citizens in the crowd – each of whom plays a crucial role in ensuring the electoral process works. Without voters’ support, enthusiasm and engagement, candidates would not be able to get the message out and win votes.
Ideas for use: display with political memorabilia from local campaigns, host a voter registration event or a debate on a topic of local interest, or gather oral histories from residents who were a part of major local, state or national campaigns.
This exhibit consists of 18 one-sided, 3-foot wide, freestanding banner stands. It can be arranged to fit different floor configurations. It requires at least 200 square feet of floor space.
Faces of the Civil War brings to life the stories of many Hoosiers whose lives were touched, and in some cases taken, by the Civil War. Not all are well-known or revered – many were just everyday citizens fulfilling their duties to their friends, family, state and country. Rather than focusing on statistics and large scale battles, Faces of the Civil War illustrates how regular people coped with the tragic experiences of the day – all from an Indiana perspective. Hands-on, interactive elements enhance the visitor experience.
Ideas for use: Showcase Civil War items from your collection or host Civil War events at your site while this exhibit is on display.
This exhibit consists of three 7-foot tall, freestanding parts requiring at least 500 square feet of floor space. It can be arranged to fit different floor configurations.
The Faces of Lincoln is a versatile exhibit made up of three parts that can be displayed together or independently.
Developing the Image (part one) traces the history of photography in the 19th century through some of the best and well-known photographs of Lincoln.
Creating the Image (part two) explains how photography helped Lincoln develop a presidential image. Photographs, prints and political cartoons in this exhibit portray Lincoln as a political candidate, president and family man. The exhibit also highlights important events in Lincoln’s life.
Idealizing the Image (part three) shows how Lincoln’s assassination instantly elevated him from man to myth. Images from IHS’s Lincoln collections help explain how Lincoln’s face came to represent American ideals.
Ideas for use: Showcase political items from your collection or host Civil War or Lincoln events while this exhibit is on display at your site.
Borrowers may arrange to borrow all three parts of The Faces of Lincoln at once, in serial order (one per month for three months), or any combination of parts at any given time. Those with limited facilities will find borrowing the exhibits in sequence the best option. The Faces of Lincoln consists of four 7-foot tall, freestanding sections. Parts one and three require at least 150 square feet of floor space each. Part two requires at least 275 square feet of floor space.
Freedom: A History of US uses reproductions of rarely seen documents and photographs to record and illustrate important people and events that trace the evolving principle of freedom in our country. The exhibit is arranged into six thematic sections: The Founding Era; Young Republic; The Nation Dividing: The Firebell in the Night; The Union Threatened, The Union Preserved; Emancipation; and Epilogue: The Price of Freedom. The contents are drawn from two privately held collections, the Gilder Lehrman Collection and the Kunhardt Collection.
Ideas for use: Showcase items or documents relating to freedom from your collection while this exhibit is on display.
Freedom: A History of US is a 7-foot tall, freestanding exhibit, comprised of six one-sided sections. The exhibition system is flexible, which allows the exhibit to be displayed in several possible configurations depending on the space available. It requires at least 225 square feet of floor space. Borrowers may request a single section, all the sections or any combination.
From the antics of fat-cat Garfield to the cracker-barrel philosophy of Brown County savant Abe Martin, the many creations of Hoosier cartoonists are highlighted in this colorful exhibit designed to amuse and intrigue your audience. The exhibit explores the amusing goings-on of characters from comic strips like “Chic” Jackson’s “Roger Bean,” which featured the lives of a typical Hoosier family, to the editorial musings of Pulitzer Prize-winning artist John T. McCutcheon, who was a fierce opponent of America’s entry into World War II.
Drawn from the collections of the Indiana Historical Society, Indiana State Library, and other institutions throughout the state, the exhibition also examines the life and work of such Indiana cartoonists as “the dean of America’s editorial cartoonists,” Evansville’s Karl Kae Knecht; artists from the Crawfordsville area known as the Sugar Crick School of Art; “the first black political cartoonist,” Henry Jackson Lewis, who worked for the Indianapolis Freeman; Abe Martin creator Frank McKinney “Kin” Hubbard; Richmond’s Gaar Williams, who earned a designation as the “James Whitcomb Riley of the pencil”; and Muncie’s Jim Davis, responsible for bringing Garfield to life.
Ideas for use: Showcase cartoons and drawings from your collection or have a cartoon contest while this exhibit is on display.
From Pencils to Pixels is a 7-foot tall, freestanding exhibit requiring at least 180 square feet of floor space.
Drawn from collections at IHS, Indiana State Library and Indiana University’s Lilly Library, the exhibition explores what came to be known as the “Golden Age of Indiana Literature.” From 1880 to 1920, Hoosier authors achieved both national prominence and popular acclaim. A 1947 study found that Indiana authors ranked second to New York in the number of bestsellers produced in the previous 40 years.
The exhibition examines some of the many writers who contributed to the state’s literary golden age, but concentrates on the lives and careers of four individuals who loomed large during this period – George Ade, Meredith Nicholson, Booth Tarkington and James Whitcomb Riley.
Ideas for use: Showcase literature or local authors’ works from your collection or host poetry readings or a book club while this exhibit is on display.
The Golden Age is a 7-foot tall, freestanding exhibit. It requires at least 220 square feet of floor space.
Indiana’s contributions during the First World War went far beyond the men and women who were drafted or volunteered for overseas duty. Tens of thousands left home for European battlefields, hospitals, and training camps, and several thousand never returned. The scale of the war and the vast amount of mobilized resources unavoidably drew Hoosiers statewide into the war effort with long-lasting effects.
The exhibit explores the roots of World War I, America’s entrance into the war, Indiana’s participation in and contributions to the war effort, the evolution of warfare, the role of Hoosier women both at home and abroad, Germans in Indiana, efforts for lasting peace, the construction of the American Legion building and the Indiana War Memorial, and more. Made possible by Kroger.
Ideas for use: Showcase photographs and items from your local military history or World War I efforts while this exhibit is on display.
This is a 7-foot tall, freestanding exhibit requiring approximately 200 square feet of floor space.
Visitors will be taken through the rise and fall of prohibition in Indiana and throughout the entire country. The exhibit spans the dawn of the temperance movement of the 1900s, the roaring 1920s and the unprecedented repeal of a constitutional amendment during the Great Depression.
The era’s conflicting cultures are demonstrated through colorful historic figures such as Edward S. Shumaker of the Indiana Anti-Saloon League, as well as the bootleggers, moonshiners and bathtub gin distillers who found their way around the law in Indiana. Guests can also take a look at how the prohibition movement is reflected in current issues. Made possible by Kroger.
Ideas for use: Showcase prohibition-era items from your collection or have a prohibition program at your site while the exhibit is on display. This is a 7-foot tall, freestanding exhibit requiring approximately 200 square feet of floor space.
The pageantry and spectacle surrounding Indiana’s 1916 statehood centennial is showcased in this exhibit. The statewide centennial celebration in 1916 would prove to have a lasting effect on the state, establishing the first state parks, spurring the production of lavish historical pageants and prompting steps toward an improved highway system.
Ideas for use: Showcase Indiana statehood objects and photos from your collection or items from your town or county’s centennial celebration while this exhibit is on display.
The Hoosier Centennial is a 7-foot tall, freestanding exhibit. It requires at least 150 square feet of floor space.
In Indiana, extreme weather such as floods, tornadoes, blizzards, and drought persist year to year. The way humans interact with their environment also leave people vulnerable to disasters, causing accidents like fires, crashes, spills, and explosions. Disasters of all kinds—biological, violent, or bizarre events such as epidemics, bombs, and squirrel migrations—are forever remembered in local communities.
In this traveling exhibit, photographs from various IHS collections and institutions all over the state capture unforgettable Indiana catastrophes while newspaper headlines, illustrations and survivor accounts show how Hoosier’s persevere in the face of disaster. Made possible by Kroger.
Ideas for use: Showcase items or newspaper clippings from your collection, host a science fair or have a meteorology program at your site while the exhibit is on display. This is a 7-foot tall, freestanding exhibit requiring approximately 200 square feet of floor space.
Because of the way we use them, we assume maps to be complete and accurate. No map, however, can show all aspects of reality, so the mapmaker chooses the information that will best convey his message and sometimes slants the information to serve his purposes.
Indiana Through the Mapmaker’s Eye examines four ways people have used maps through the years: as documentation, as tools, as political images and as art. Some of the maps included in the display are an 1833 tourist pocket map of Indiana, a 1910 Sanborn Company fire insurance map of Bloomington, Thomas Kitchin’s 1747 map of French settlements in North America, a circa 1880 scale model map of the University of Notre Dame, and an 1881 bird’s-eye view of Mount Vernon, Ind.
Ideas for use: Showcase maps from your collection while this exhibit is on display. Indiana through the Mapmaker’s Eye is a 7-foot tall, freestanding exhibit requiring at least 220 square feet of floor space.
On the evening of April 4, 1968, Robert F. Kennedy stopped in a neighborhood in the near north side of Indianapolis to make a speech while on his presidential campaign trail. The folks in the crowd had no idea they would hear of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death that very day. In an effort to comfort the crowd and come to terms with the senseless violence, Robert Kennedy gave an impromptu speech that encouraged peace, hope, bravery and reconciliation. This exhibit explores the impact of Kennedy’s words and King’s legacy on several Indianapolis residents, while also looking at the Civil Rights Movement in Indianapolis, today’s MLK Jr. Park marking the speech’s location, and King’s impact on the National Civil Rights Movement.
The second major element of the exhibit showcases themes brought out in Kennedy’s speech and King’s civil rights work by exploring the lives of several human rights defenders working around the globe. The nonprofit advocacy group, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, provided the displayed biographies and images.
The Indiana Historical Society and the Kennedy King Memorial Initiative collaborated on this exhibit to honor the 50th anniversary of King’s death and Kennedy’s speech.
Ideas for use: Showcase items related to the Civil Rights Movement or partner with a local human rights group while this exhibit is on display.
Local Speech, Global Reach is a 7-foot tall, freestanding exhibit requiring at least 200 square feet of floor space.
The elaborate and colorful murals installed in the post offices of numerous Hoosier communities during the 1930s are highlighted in this traveling exhibit. The exhibition gives a brief history of the federal Section of Painting and Sculpture, which was established in the summer of 1934 “to secure suitable art of the best quality for the embellishment of public buildings,” and then focuses on the histories of some of the 36 murals commissioned and executed for Indiana post offices that are still in existence today. The exhibit is based on a 1995 publication A Simple and Vital Design: The Story of the Indiana Post Office Murals by John C. Carlisle with photographs by Darryl Jones.
Ideas for use: Plan a tour of local murals in your community or invite visitors to contribute to a temporary mural at your site while this exhibit is on display.
Local Treasure is a 7-foot tall, freestanding exhibit with a separate stand containing individual images. It requires at least 200 square feet of floor space.
John A. Bushemi was a good-natured, talented photographer from Gary who covered several of the island invasions during World War II in the Pacific. This traveling exhibit features reproductions of Bushemi’s photographs “from a rifle’s length vantage point,” according to his colleague and fellow war correspondent Merle Miller.
Among the magazine covers and personal photographs from Bushemi’s assignment to YANK, the weekly magazine written by and for enlisted men, are images of soldiers training at Fort Bragg, soldiers on the beach of Entiwok Island in the Marshalls awaiting the order to attack, and close-up portraits of soldiers who were featured in an article about the battle for New Georgia.
Bushemi died Feb. 19, 1944, when shrapnel from Japanese knee-mortar shells hit and mortally wounded him. As navy surgeons frantically attempted to save Bushemi’s life, the photographer gave his epitaph, telling Miller, “Be sure to get those pictures back to the office.” Images of both his battleship funeral service and his funeral service back home in Gary are included in the exhibit.
Ideas for use: Showcase military items from your collection or host local World War II veterans for a lecture or oral history program while this exhibit is on display.
One Shot is a 7-foot tall, freestanding exhibit. It requires at least 220 square feet of floor space.
Your audience can learn how to care for family photos with this exhibit that showcases the identification and treatment of the most common early photographic processes.
A Perfect Likeness focuses on identifying and caring for common 19th- and early 20th- century photographic processes and formats such as the daguerreotype, ambrotype, tintype and carte de visite. This exhibition has a broad appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds. A Perfect Likeness is sponsored by IHS and the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, N.Y.
Ideas for use: Showcase an exhibit of photographs from your collection or hold a photo workshop while this exhibit is on display. The exhibit may be wall hung or displayed on table tops. If wall hung, it requires 60 linear feet of wall space. If displayed on table tops with panels back to back, it requires at least four large buffet tables.
The first steamboat to successfully navigate America’s western inland rivers, the New Orleans, altered American life forever by hastening the opening of the American West and transforming the landscape, economy and culture of the United States. This exhibit introduces the adventurers who first dared to take a steamboat on the Ohio River, the technology they used and the ramification – both positive and negative – of their actions. Steamboat a Comin’: The Legacy of the New Orleans provides viewers with an understanding and appreciation of the adventurous spirit that colored much of early river travel, the technological achievements, the vast impact on landscape and economy, and the rich culture we have today as a result.
The Rivers Institute at Hanover College sponsored this traveling exhibit to mark the bicentennial in 2011 of the first steamboat to successfully voyage down the Ohio River.
This exhibit consists of 19 one-sided, freestanding banner stands. (Three are 4-feet wide, 16 are 3-feet wide). It can be arranged to fit different floor configurations. It requires at least 300 square feet of floor space.
The makeup of Indiana’s communities has changed over time, molded by the contributions of a wide range of ethnic groups. Many people ask “What is a Hoosier?”—and Indiana natives take pride in their nickname. Today people with many different backgrounds now identify themselves as Hoosiers.
In this traveling exhibit, maps and informational graphics highlight the statistical impact of changing ethnic groups, while photographs from various IHS collections and institutions all over the state bring to life the personal stories of immigration. Made possible by Kroger.
Ideas for use: Showcase photographs and items from the major ethnic traditions in your area while this exhibit is on display. This is a 7-foot tall, freestanding exhibit requiring approximately 200 square feet of floor space.
This traveling exhibit celebrates 30 years of LGBT history as seen through the lens of photographer Mark A. Lee. His photographs give visitors a front row seat to events, both public and private, that shaped the lives of many Hoosiers. “A Visual Journey: From AIDS to Marriage Equality documents members of the AIDS community, past and present Bag Ladies, members of Pride, and those who fought for marriage equality,” said Lee. “It also pays tribute to five very special people who are no longer here (for reasons other than AIDS) and takes a sneak peek into our future, as it takes a closer look at the transgender community.”
The traveling exhibit, sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company and Cummins, also highlights IHS’s work with the Indiana LGBT Collecting Initiative. First announced in 2014, the initiative includes oral histories, photographs and research materials donated to the IHS archives. The Indiana LGBT Collecting Initiative is supported by the Efroymson Family Fund and a grant from The Indianapolis Foundation, a CICF affiliate.
Ideas for use: Showcase items from your collection or partner with local LGBT or Gay-straight alliance groups while this exhibit is on display.
A Visual Journey is a 7-foot tall, freestanding exhibit requiring at least 180 square feet of floor space.
Lending, professional standards and moreLearn more
Training for local history practitionersLearn more
Customized training at your placeLearn more
In your neighborhoodLearn more
Find local historical societies, genealogical societies and county historians.Learn more