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State historical society sets up new campaign

Sunday, December 9, 2007

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Historical Society has announced a public campaign to raise $23.8 million to create and deliver "The Indiana Experience," to Hoosiers as well as visitors from across the nation.

The announcement was made Monday evening at the IHS annual Founders Day Dinner at the Indiana History Center.

To date, $14 million has been raised from individuals and foundations, including $8 million from Eugene and Marilyn Glick. Other financial gifts are expected to follow.

"Visitors to the Indiana History Center are going to enjoy the addition of a whole new experience," said IHS President and CEO John Herbst. "Think of this more like the experience that Epcot Center or Disney provides, but based on sound historical research. It will convey both dramatic events and everyday life in Indiana."

An extensive project planning process, which began shortly after the arrival of Herbst in September 2006, will make the Indiana History Center even more of a destination by bringing the people of the state a uniquely Indiana experience -- one that connects them with their rich Hoosier heritage in new and exciting ways.

Plans include implementation of new technology and programs that will appeal to visitors and extend the length of their visit, additional staffing to facilitate the new experience, and physical modifications to the building to improve visitor circulation.

The fuel for these new experiences will come from the use of material in the extensive visual collections housed in the IHS library, including 1.6 million historical photographs as well as maps, periodicals and personal papers.

Among the new experiences the IHS will offer are:

* Destination Indiana -- a time travel program in which each visitor will navigate back and forth through the past based on his/her own topical interests,

* You Are There -- an area where visitors can literally step into historical photographs which have been recreated three-dimensionally. Entering the environment depicted in the photograph will spark interaction with costumed interpreters and engage guests in hands-on activities,

* Anything Goes -- the environment of a 1940s nightclub in which participants can dance and enjoy the music of Cole Porter,

* History Lab/Investigation Stations -- History Lab provides opportunities for visitors to consider and experience the preservation of history through both a resource center and hands-on demonstration classroom. Facilitated Investigation Stations invite guests to dissect historical photographs for clues, use vital records to uncover family history details, analyze documents and record their observations, and

* Indiana Town Hall Series -- investigates why issues such as race relations, jobs, health care, government leadership, family and religion have continued to be on the forefront over time, allowing face-to-face interaction and discussion about important state and community issues.

"These materials, used in exciting new ways, will allow our guests to time travel through our state's history," said Herbst. "The culmination of this project will expand both on-site and statewide delivery of the mission of the IHS --to be Indiana's Storyteller -- Connecting People to the Past."

The Indiana History Center, the Indiana Historical Society's headquarters building, will be renamed the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center because of their $8 million donation.

This is the largest single cash gift in the Indiana Historical Society's 177-year history.

Since 1830, the Indiana Historical Society has been Indiana's Storyteller, connecting people to the past by collecting, preserving, interpreting, and disseminating the state's history.

The Society is located in the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center at 450 W. Ohio St., in downtown Indianapolis.

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