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You Are There: That Ayres Look

Ayres girlL.S. Ayres and Company holds a special place in the hearts of Hoosiers. Urban department stores were a feature of late 19th-century and 20th-century cities, and Ayres was the cream of the crop. Today, there are still many people connected to L.S. Ayres who lived the story. Guests to our newest exhibit step through an image of the iconic Ayres department store clock, projected on a very fine sheet of mist. By holding a provided mobile device up to a model of the clock, they witness a late-1930s cleaning through augmented reality.

The adjoining gallery features historical photographs, documents, artifacts and videos to provide a multifaceted portrait of the company, its people and its innovations. You can look forward to seeing original items borrowed or donated from individuals, and additional clothing items and other artifacts on loan from the Indiana State Museum. Guests can interact with costumed actors representing historical characters from the company’s past, witness the evolution of fashion, hear the stories of the people who shaped the business, and design window displays.

Learn about the early growth of the company; the roles members of the Ayres family played; the 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 the forerunner of future discount retailers.

See one of Indianapolis’ most cherished and famous seasonal residents up close. The Ayres cherub, which has never been on display 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.

Presented by
Ayres Foundation, Inc. and Nancy Ayres

Supported by
Ruth Lilly Philanthropic Foundation and Mr. and Mrs. Peter Nicholas
Nicholas H. Noyes, Jr., Memorial Foundation, Inc. and Lisa Carrington Bohn
Griffith Family Foundation, Inc.