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Some of you may have seen in other stories that I’ve written that I work with a group of teenagers and many of them happen to be refugees from Burma, most of which have grown up in refugee camps in Thailand and then have found new homes, new freedoms and new ways of life in Indiana. What does this have to do with the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center (450 West Ohio Street)? Not a lot today but during the Making a Jewish Home Indiana Experience, I couldn’t help but draw upon the parallels of these teens lives and the lives of the Kaplan Family who went from Poland to a displaced persons camp in Germany and ended up in Indianapolis. Fifty years from now, I’ll visit the Indiana Experience and see actors portraying the daily lives of my young friends — I’m sure of it!
The Indiana History Center incorporates storytelling, interactive technology and hands on application to sharing the history of Indiana. A favorite of many visitors of all ages is the History Lab where you can learn how to do what conservators do by trying out a technique used to safely mend fragile paper by working on an actual envelope from the museum collection!
Amazing and realistic acting in the You Are There series really brings truth to the name, You Are There. We were able to visit all three exhibits but the Making a Jewish Home is one that I cannot get out of my head. The woman playing Fanny Kaplan, the centerpiece of the photograph being relived, was so spectacular and believable. She answered questions in such a way that others I shared my visit with were so worried about the pain they would bring to her memory if they asked about the concentration camps — we all forgot she was an actress playing a part as we sat around her kitchen table.
The Indiana Historical Society has so much to offer in knowledge and yes, even entertainment. Lulu was too young to enjoy our visit the way she enjoys the Children’s Museum but she still found entertainment in the beautiful staircases, the fog screens and the music in the Cole Porter Room. My age recommendations are for children of school age.
Admission is $7 per adult, $5 for children ages 5-17 and free for children under 5. Parking is free with paid admission or with a $7 purchase at the Stardust Terrace Cafe or the History Market. Please see the IHS website for hours and closings. The Indiana Experience is not open on Mondays or Sundays.