Indianapolis—Indiana’s Bicentennial year is in the books, but there is still time to visit the Indiana Historical Society’s (IHS’s) interactive exhibit on statehood. Located at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, the exhibit, You Are There 1816: Indiana Joins the Nation, will remain open until Jan. 21, 2017.
The exhibit takes guests back in time to Indiana’s Constitutional Convention of 1816. Visitors meet with delegates who are in Corydon, Indiana, to draft the state’s first constitution. Audiences are invited to debate, listen and learn about various viewpoints on issues such as education, slavery and land held by Native Americans.
“It’s always gratifying when someone learns something about the beginning of the state,” says Zachariah Stonerock, who portrays William Hendricks, secretary of the convention and later the state’s third governor. “School groups are usually fun, because the children aren’t afraid to pretend.”
It is a place where “getting into the spirit of 1816” is welcomed, and few questions are off limits.
“One question I always wish someone would ask is why we are becoming a state,” says Matthew Walls, who portrays several different characters, including Indiana’s first governor, Jonathan Jennings. “We always explain how, but that’s only the first layer.”
In another area of the exhibit, guests can view an original hand-written copy of Indiana’s 1816 Constitution and a piece of the Constitution Elm. In addition, touchscreen displays invite guests to participate in live-tally voting on issues such as the balance of power, education and personal liberty.
You Are There 1816: Indiana Joins the Nation is presented by The O’Bannon Foundation, a fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation, and Jock and Penny Fortune.
For more information on You Are There 1816: Indiana Joins the Nation, as well as future You Are There exhibits, call (317) 232-1882 or visit www.indianahistory.org.
About the Indiana Historical Society
Since 1830, the Indiana Historical Society has been Indiana’s Storyteller™, connecting people to the past by collecting, preserving 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 experiences 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 programs. IHS is a Smithsonian Affiliate and a member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.