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Fortune History Lab, INvestigation Stations Give More Hands-on Looks at History

Feb. 23, 2010

Indianapolis—Whether visitors’ interest is in learning how historians “do” history or how conservators keep the items of the past accessible to the public, the Indiana Historical Society will provide that know-how and the tools to use it through the Fortune History Lab and INvestigation Stations.  Both are programmatic components of the Indiana Experience, a new way to live history that will open to the public March 20, 2010, at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center. The History Center is located at 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis.

The new Indiana Experience not only invites guests to step back into time, but also to step into the world of history work. The process of “doing” history—collecting, preserving, interpreting and sharing the past—is exciting and meaningful work in which everyone can be involved.

Items from the extensive IHS collections could not be made available to the public without the efforts of the IHS’s Conservation Department. The Fortune History Lab teaches the basics of conservation as well as a skill conservators use on a regular basis—paper mending. Using Japanese tissue paper, wheat paste and microspatulas, facilitators (whose training includes time in the IHS Conservation Lab) guide visitors through the process of mending simple tears in paper so they can learn to better maintain their own treasured documents. Also in the History Lab is a touch-screen interactive that invites guests to “Ask a Conservator” frequently asked questions about proper preservation techniques and storage materials they can use at home.

Visitors will find an extension of the William H. Smith Memorial Library along the Mezzanine Gallery on the second floor, where panoramic photographs, portraits, letter excerpts and other materials tell the story of Indiana’s past. The activities found in the INvestigation Stations encourage guests to dive into the research work of history by dissecting images for clues, by asking questions of the different kinds of primary sources found in our library and by exploring their personal history using Internet-based genealogy resources. To demonstrate how primary sources are put together to tell a story, a touch-screen computer monitor explains the process the IHS staff went through to create the Citizens Market for the You Are There 1945: Hoosier Home Front.

For those who want to know even more about the history work we do, weekly “Sneak a Peek” tours demystify what goes on behind closed doors at the History Center. More than a building tour, these 20- to 25-minute tours present a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how an organization like the Indiana Historical Society works to fulfill its mission. A new program series, IHS INDepth, includes personalized programs that allow guests to develop new knowledge and skills by becoming active partners in the process of doing history. Whether participating in a Library lab, IHS Press workshop or talking with the staff members who create the You Are There experiences, IHS INDepth programs – like all the Indiana Experience components – invite you to become a part of the process of collecting, preserving, interpreting and sharing Indiana’s past.


About the Indiana Experience
The Indiana Experience brings both the people of the state and visitors from around the world a uniquely Indiana experience. Interactive and high-technology experiences allow the IHS to share the tremendous archival holdings of the IHS, including 1.6 million photographs, in easy and enjoyable ways.

Regular operating hours for the Indiana Experience and the William H. Smith Memorial Library are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Basile History Market is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the Stardust Terrace Café is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

IHS members and children younger than five receive free admission to the Indiana Experience. Regular admission cost is $7 for adults, $6.50 for seniors (60 and older) and $5 per child (ages five to 17). Group rates for adults, seniors and students are available. Admission to the William H. Smith Memorial Library, Basile History Market and Stardust Terrace Café is free.

Parking is complimentary for members visiting the History Center, with paid admission to the Indiana Experience, for patrons of the William H. Smith Memorial Library and/or with a $7 purchase at the Stardust Terrace Café or Basile History Market.

About the Indiana Historical Society
Since 1830, 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. IHS also provides support and assistance to local museums and historical groups, publishes books and periodicals; sponsors teacher workshops; and provides youth, adult and family programming.

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To receive an electronic copy of this press release, more information and/or images, or to schedule an interview, please contact Amy Lamb, Media Relations Manager, at (317) 232-1878 or alamb@indianahistory.org.