The Indiana Historical Society (IHS)’s newest exhibit, Chuck Taylor All Star, opens March 4 at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, located at 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis.
The exhibit explores the story of the man, Charles Hollis Taylor — better known as “Chuck” Taylor — and his iconic Converse All Star shoe through a variety of immersive experiences and remarkable artifacts and images, some of which have never been exhibited before.
Chuck Taylor was born on June 24, 1901, near Nashville, Indiana. He grew up in the nearby small community of Azalia and went to high school in Columbus. Taylor had a short career as a player and some success as a coach, but he made a name for himself traveling around the nation and beyond, teaching clinics on basketball fundamentals and selling a new basketball shoe — the Converse All Star.
By 1934, the company had adopted his name for its shoe, giving Taylor a more lasting legacy than anyone could have predicted. Taylor’s work with Converse helped to grow and spread the “gospel” of basketball around the nation during the sport’s infancy. This led to his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1969.
Unique Virtual Reality Experience
Opening March 4, Chuck Taylor All Star includes a cutting-edge virtual reality (VR) experience that allows visitors to travel back to 1952, meet Chuck Taylor and even participate in one of his famous basketball clinics.
“This experience lets you surround yourself in history,” said Daniel Gonzales, IHS director of exhibitions curation. “You can engage with historical figures, touch artifacts and stand in historic spaces. All things that are impossible to do in real life.”
Using Oculus headsets, visitors will take a journey to a 1952 Hoosier gymnasium, making several stops and interacting with Chuck Taylor as well as historical artifacts along the way. A key component to the VR experience is participating in a Chuck Taylor basketball clinic. Guests will learn proper shooting techniques from Harold “Bunny” Levitt, who held a national record for the most free throws made in a row. The clinic also includes a lesson from Sam Richardson, the 11th-leading scorer in Indiana State University basketball history.
“Even in a virtual reality platform, the basketball skills taught by Bunny Levitt and Sam Richardson tell us something important about how the game developed that is valuable for players at any skill level,” Gonzales said. “We think anyone with an interest in basketball or Chuck Taylor will love this experience.”
The Chuck Taylor All Star exhibit opens March 4, 2023 and runs through January 27, 2025. The virtual reality experience is included with general admission to the Indiana Historical Society. The exhibit is presented by Converse, Pacers Sports & Entertainment and the Herbert Simon Family Foundation.
For more information about other IHS offerings, call (317) 232-1882 or visit www.indianahistory.org.
About the Indiana Historical Society (IHS)
The Indiana Historical Society collects and preserves Indiana’s unique stories; brings Hoosiers together in remembering and sharing the past; and inspires a future grounded in our state’s uniting values and principles. IHS is a Smithsonian Affiliate and a member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.
About Converse Inc.
Converse Inc., based in Boston, Massachusetts, is a wholly owned subsidiary of NIKE, Inc. Established in 1908 as a rubber company, the introduction of its first canvas basketball sneaker propelled a legacy as the original brand of youth culture around the world. Today, Converse is a socially progressive and highly inventive footwear and apparel brand for and powered by All Stars, a global community of emerging creatives who champion progress in sport and culture. The interpretation and adoption of its iconic sneakers, including the Chuck Taylor All Star, the Pro Leather, the One Star and Jack Purcell continue to enable expression in the basketball, skateboarding and creative communities while inspiring the new lines of its design. Follow @Converse and on Converse.com.
About Pacers Sports & Entertainment
Pacers Sports & Entertainment (PS&E) is the corporate identity exemplified by the Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever, Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Pacers Gaming, Pacers Foundation, Inc., and Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Its team of inspired and dedicated employees promises to deliver quality entertainment and unparalleled service. Find PS&E on social media with @pacerssportsent.
About Herbert Simon Family Foundation
Herbert Simon Family Foundation is a private non-operating foundation. Established in 1999, the foundation has been providing support for organizations in hopes of creating more equitable, sustainable and vibrant communities with an emphasis on Central Indiana. In 2011, Herbert Simon Family Foundation expanded its board to include the second generation of the family and engaged CICF’s philanthropic services, including strategic charitable advising and grant-making counsel. The foundation grants to organizations in Central Indiana in the areas of: Arts & Culture, Basic Needs, Environment, and Social Justice.