Discover Indianapolis’ Underground Museum Scene

We’ve already showcased five eccentric museums across the Midwest that you should seek out on your next road trip. In our research, though, we’ve discovered that Indianapolis really has cornered the market in interesting museums. Below, enjoy three particularly offbeat institutions that Indy is hiding in plain sight.

1/ Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library
Half library, half museum, the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library is a tribute to the ever-uncensored Hoosier author himself. A visitor favorite includes a replica of Vonnegut’s desk setup, where visitors can sit and have their picture taken. “Don’t forget to type on the typewriter,” the library’s website says. “We’ll tweet it out to our supporters.” Vonnegut’s actual typewriter is also on display, along with his Purple Heart, rejection letters and several signed first editions of his novels.

2/ Museum of Miniature Houses
Learn about the surprisingly long (40,000 years!), broad history of miniatures at the Museum of Miniature Houses. Sure, children’s dollhouses are displayed, as one might imagine. But the museum also features a variety of other miniatures, such as replicas of ancient Japanese homes, antebellum vignettes and contemporary/mid-century architecture. In 2016, the museum hosted an exhibit titled “Hoosier History,” which included miniatures depicting aspects of Indiana’s own vibrant history.

3/ Indiana Medical History Museum
Medicine—particularly psychology—was a whole different animal in the early 1900s than it is today. The Indiana Medical History Museum, housed on the campus of what was once the Central Indiana Hospital for the Insane, paints a clear picture of developments for the field of mental health from 1896 (the inaugural year of the hospital’s pathology department) to the department’s closing in the mid-1960s. Visitors can view the teaching amphitheater, the autopsy room and the anatomical museum (which includes the requisite brains in jars, if you have that kind of stomach), all complete with vintage tools and instruments.

Featured photo courtesy of Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library.

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