You’ll discover hands-on science, local history, art galleries, a planetarium, and a transportation center all under one roof at the Evansville Museum—well, two roofs, really—and you can cover it all in one afternoon.
Start in the science gallery where adults are as anxious as children to try the interactive demonstrations. Watch clouds form, see your image reflected upside-down in a mirror, or drop a coin into the gravity well and watch it spin ‘round and ‘round as it descends to the bottom.
Moving into the history exhibitions, see replicas of dresses worn by movie stars and lots of movie posters, which demonstrate the popularity of the silver screen in Evansville, formerly home to twelve theaters. Many of the theaters began as vaudeville venues and were converted to movie houses in the early 20th century.
Walk down a brick paved street of yesteryear and peer into the windows of homes and businesses.
The museum includes an extensive exhibit about life during World War II. During the war, Evansville became the quintessential Rosie the Riveter town as women took on factory jobs while the men went to war.
The museum’s second level houses art galleries. Permanent exhibits in the Crescent Galleries showcase American and European art dating back as far as the 16th century. The remaining galleries feature temporary exhibitions: some part of the museum’s collection, some regional art, and some touring collections.
The Immersive Theater, the planetarium, offers several different shows each day. One show is specifically geared to young children and another to older children. “Skies Over Evansville” reproduces the night sky, and a museum staff member points out constellations and planets, and answers audience questions.
Next door, the Evansville Museum Transportation Center (EMTRAC) invites you to explore the Evansville’s transportation history, from 19th century riverboats and carriages to steam fire engines and locomotives.
Outside, ring the bell of a Milwaukee Road steam engine and walk through the Tennessee Club Car, the very car that General Dwight D. Eisenhower used during his presidency campaign and later was used by Lady Bird Johnson as she campaigned for her husband’s presidency.
A 1920s railroad car attached to the back of the EMTRAC building houses a model railroad that you view from inside the museum. The layout represents Evansville during the 1950s.
Spend just a few hours in the Evansville Museum, and you’ll get a good feel for the area culture and history—and will have had fun learning about it.
The Evansville Museum is located at 411 S.E. Riverside Drive, Evansville Indiana. Check the web site for hours and admission rates.
Disclosure: My visit to the Evansville Museum was hosted by the Evansville Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Evansville Museum, but any opinions expressed in this post are my own.
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