Indianapolis—The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) will debut
a new concept in its storytelling with You Are There: That
Ayres Look, stretching the interpretation of its popular You Are
There format. The exhibit will open March 14 and will be available through Aug.
6, 2016 as part of the Indiana Experience at the Eugene
and Marilyn Glick Indiana
The History Center
is located at 450 W. Ohio St.,
along the canal in downtown Indianapolis.
The IHS exhibitions team knew it had a winning story on its hands
following the success of its book L.S. Ayres & Company: The Store at the
Crossroads of America, written by Kenneth L. Turchi. The business
spent more than a century catering to the needs of Hoosiers—and captured their
hearts along the way.
Rather than centering on the story told through a single
photograph, That Ayres Look highlights many stories from more than
a century of the company’s history—and intermingles traditional techniques and
As with past You Are There spaces, the journey still begins with a
walk through a fog screen, as guests step through an image of the iconic Ayres
department store clock. On the other side is a half-scale, blank replica of the
downtown landmark. By pointing a provided iPad at the clock, an augmented
reality experience will begin—creating the illusion, complete with sound, of
two workers cleaning the icon in the late 1930s.
The use of new technology doesn’t end with the entrance of the
space. Guests will encounter virtual “dress” display mannequins on monitors,
allowing them to witness ever-changing fashion, patterns, colors, hemlines and
silhouettes of the decades that comprised what became known as “That Ayres
Guests can also interact with costumed actors representing
historical real-life characters from 1959, such as owner Lyman Ayres II, Ayres
Fashion Bureau director Elizabeth Patrick and Ayres model Bea Fatout. IHS has
also created videos that celebrating different facets of the Ayres
story—including the business, family, fashions and shopping experience.
As visitors continue through the gallery, they will encounter
historical photographs, documents, artifacts and videos to provide a
multi-faceted illustration of the company, its people and its innovations. IHS
will also display original items borrowed or donated from individuals, and
additional clothing items and other artifacts are on loan from the Indiana State Museum.
Guests will learn about the early growth of the company, the family
behind it, the company culture that fostered a high level of customer service,
innovation and respect for its employees; the dynamic environment where
cutting-edge ideas were developed; the lasting memories L.S. Ayres made for
people during the holidays; and the Ayr-Way off-shoot that was a forerunner of
future discount retailers.
Another included Ayres tradition is one of Indianapolis’ most cherished and famous
seasonal residents. The Ayres cherub, which has never been on view outside of
its resting place atop the downtown clock, is on loan from Downtown Indy and
will reside inside the exhibit when she’s not performing her holiday duties.
You Are There: That Ayres Look is presented by Ayres Foundation Inc.
and Nancy Ayres, with support from Nicholas H. Noyes, Jr., Memorial Foundation,
Inc. and Lisa Carrington Bohn; Ruth Lilly Philanthropic Foundation and Mr. and
Mrs. Peter Nicholas; and Griffith Family Foundation, Inc.
You Are There: That Ayres Look is Included with Indiana
For more information about this and other IHS programs, call (317) 232-1882 or
the Indiana Historical Society has been Indiana’s
Storyteller, connecting people to the past by collecting, preserving,
interpreting and sharing the state’s history. A private, nonprofit membership
organization, IHS maintains the nation’s premier research library and archives
on the history of Indiana and the Old Northwest and presents a unique set of visitor
exhibitions called the Indiana Experience. IHS also provides
support and assistance to local museums and historical groups, publishes books
and periodicals; sponsors teacher workshops; produces and hosts art
exhibitions, museum theater and outside performance groups; and provides youth,
adult and family programming.
information and/or images, contact Amy Lamb, media relations manager, at
(317) 232-1878 or firstname.lastname@example.org.