10 Exhibitions to Visit in Indianapolis and Indiana this Spring

by Paul Joseph  |  Published March 3, 2023

With over 40 museums dotted across the Midwestern state, Indiana is brimming with great exhibitions to visit throughout Spring.

(Photo: Museum of Miniatures)

The majority of Indiana’s museums can be found in the state’s capital and largest city, Indianapolis, but venture beyond the metropolis and you won’t need to travel far before you reach other cultural venues. If you’re visiting Indiana over the coming months  and would like to take in any exhibitions during your stay, we’ve picked out 10 of the best set to run through the upcoming spring season.

Museum of Miniatures various exhibitions

Springtime at the Museum of Miniatures in downtown Carmel will feature exciting new exhibits, some never before showcased to the public. These include a dedicated Inspiration Room to showcase unique materials and techniques used in the art of miniature, the spooktacular 24-room Addam’s Family Mansion, a newly commissioned Contemporary House, a reimagined exhibit space exploring the miniature toys of today, a brand new Lego exhibit, and the continuation of two temporary exhibits, “Furry Friends” and “Ship to Shore.” With so many styles and sizes, fun can be found for the whole family.

Museum of Miniature Houses and Other Collections, Carmel / Through spring

Documents That Shaped America

(Photo: Indiana Historical Society)

America’s founding was influenced by many different writers, philosophers, politicians and leaders. This exhibition will showcase many of these significant historical written works, including early editions of some of the most important manuscripts in American history. Among them are the first edition 1788 U.S. Constitution (one of five known copies), a first edition of the Gettysburg Address, and an early edition of Life & Times of Frederick Douglass (1893). It also features texts that help build the major foundational pieces of Western democratic philosophy, such as a 1350 edition of the Magna Carta.

Indiana Historical Society / Through 5 August 2023

A Wild Story: The David and Sarojini Johnson Print Collection

This exhibition is the first public presentation of an outstanding Midwestern collection amassed over four decades by printmakers and educators David and Sarojini Johnson. The display features relief and intaglio prints created by more than 25 artist printmakers represented in the Johnsons’ collection, emphasising the contributions of German Expressionist and Midwestern artists, with concentrations of art condemned by the Nazis as degenerate (‘entartete Kunst’). These works are juxtaposed with several prints from the David Owsley Museum of Art’s collection that incorporate items acquired for the museum with David Johnson’s advice.

David Owsley Museum of Art, Ball State University, Muncie / 23 February – 21 May 2023

Monet & Friends Alive

This fully immersive experience highlights the work of 19th-century French impressionist artist Oscar-Claude Monet as well as several other impressionist painters with whom he often worked alongside and shared influences. Visitors will discover paintings dancing around them on an enormous scale, revealing the vivid detail and bold brushstrokes of some of the most famous artists of all time – all set to a musical score by renowned European composers. The exhibition is being held at The Lume, a huge, multi-sensory exhibit space that occupies the fourth floor of Newfields, and follows the success of the space’s inaugural exhibit featuring works from Vincent van Gogh in 2021,

Newfields, Indianapolis / Through 28 May 2023

World War II – Spring

(Photo: Indiana Military Museum)

The Indiana Military Museum is home to one of the best, most comprehensive collections of military memorabilia anywhere in the US. Each spring, the museum hosts a World War Two remembrance day, designed to honour the veterans and casualties of the war. The event also sees many living veterans in attendance who participate in a host of living history displays and re-enactments. Highlights include battle demonstrations, tactical demonstration courses, and a Saturday night social.

Indiana Military Museum, Vincennes / 7-8 May 2023

Leonardo da Vinci: Tactile Exhibit

Developed by Tactile Images, in partnership with the National Federation of the Blind and Getty Images, this exhibition was created in both tactile and 2D form to serve blind, disabled and sighted visitors. It features a line-up of 10 images, each exploring the creative mind of Leonardo da Vinci, the famous artist, architect and mathematician of the Italian High Renaissance. If focuses purely on Da Vinci’s engineering drawings and innovations, showing a variety of his designs, from construction devices and war machines to flying apparatuses, allowing visitors to intimately experience his depth of creativity and engineering expertise.

Science Central, Fort Wayne / Through 28 May 2023

Garden Party: Outdoor Sculptures by Dorothy Gillespie

(Photo: Dorothy Gillespie)

The late American artist and sculptor Dorothy Gillespie was a pioneer for women in the arts. In her prolific and illustrious career of over 70 years, she was an activist, lecturer, and mentor to creative women throughout the world. Twenty years before her most famous exhibitions at Walt Disney World and Rockefeller Center, Gillespie had a city-wide exhibition in Fort Wayne in 1979, which helped launch her career. This exhibition honours that instrumental exhibition, showcasing a dazzling array of outdoor sculptures.

Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne / Through 4 June 2023

New Acquisitions: American Photography in the Permanent Collection

In 2012, a philanthropic association of American photographers was established with the goal of expressing gratitude towards institutions that support the photographic art form. Through the project, artists donate vintage and contemporary prints of their work to museum collections of their choice. In 2021, the Evansville Museum was invited to participate in the donation project. This exhibition showcases over 130 works donated to the museum over the past couple of years, reflecting a multitude of contemporary perspectives and a rich assortment of styles, concepts, and photographic materials.

Evansville Museum, Evansville / Through 12 June 2023

Fighting Fear: Pandemics Past and Present

Long before the world ground to a halt in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, individuals faced the influenza pandemic of 1918. Throughout the 20th century, epidemics from polio to the HIV/AIDS crisis have challenged and changed local, national, and global communities. Supported by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Indiana Humanities as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, this exhibition addresses the fears, prejudices, and resilience of communities as they have faced mass illness.

The History Museum, South Bend / Through 19 July 2023

Direct Contact: Cameraless Photography Now

Referred to as photograms or contact prints, cameraless photographs are made using analogue photography’s foundational elements: light, chemistry, and light-sensitive surfaces. Focusing on the material and tactile properties of the medium, this exhibition is the first contemporary survey to examine cameraless photography across generations, cultures, and ideologies. It presents recent work by over 40 artists, all serving to position cameraless photography as both an intellectual cornerstone in the medium’s history and an enduring and important force within contemporary art.

Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, Bloomington / Through 2 July 2023