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IHS's Free Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration Jam-packed with Programs, Service Opportunities

Jan. 13, 2016

Indianapolis-The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) will open the doors of the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 18, with free admission to performances, programs and service opportunities, as well as the award-winning Indiana Experience

Normally closed on Mondays, the History Center, located at 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis, will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and from the moment visitors step inside, they will be surrounded by tributes focusing on Dr. King's lasting impact.

In the Frank and Katrina Basile Theater, a short play will highlight the speech made by Robert F. Kennedy, here in Indianapolis, upon hearing the news of Dr. King's assassination. Then, just as Dr. King had a dream, guests leaving the theater will be able to fill in their own dream cloud with words or pictures featuring their own hopes for the future.

Moving into the William Henry Smith Memorial Library, visitors can view original materials from IHS's collections relating to Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement in Indiana. Wilma Moore, IHS senior archivist on African-American History, will then lead discussions on those Hoosier ties and how IHS collections help tell the history of Indiana's African-American communities.

In Eli Lilly Hall, visitors will enjoy the IHS traveling exhibition Who is a Hoosier?, on display throughout the day courtesy of Kroger. In addition to programs and performances by IHS staff, the Griot Drum Ensemble will treat guests to a special performance at 1:30 p.m., featuring African folktales accompanied by traditional instruments.

Another important element of the free, day-long celebration is service. IHS's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration is presented by HealthNet, and the event marks the culmination of a winter clothing drive to benefit the HealthNet Homeless Initiative Program. The drive, collecting new or gently-used winter coats, gloves, mittens and scarves, is dedicated to the memory of Jill Buck and two of her children, who were killed in a multi-car crash on I-65 in July. Buck was a HealthNet optometrist, who was instrumental in organizing the partnership with IHS before her death. In addition to the winter clothing drive, visitors are invited to help pack care packages to benefit Wheeler Mission, from noon to 4 p.m., with items provided by Target.

Also included with free admission for the day, is the Indiana Experience. Guests can step back in time with You Are There exhibits, take virtual time-travel journeys with Destination Indiana and have songs sung live for them upon request in the Cole Porter Room. 

For more information on IHS's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration and other programs, 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, interpreting and sharing the state’s history. A private, nonprofit membership organization and an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, 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  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.


For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Rachel Hill Ponko, director of public relations, at (317) 233-8814 or rhillponko@indianahistory.org.