Indiana Medical History Museum
Indianapolis IN 46222
- Thu: 10am-4pm
- Fri: 10am-4pm
- Sat: 10am-4pm
Indianapolis is known for sports in general and auto racing in particular, but it is also known for its state-of-the-art medical facilities. One way to see how far medicine, especially psychiatry, has advanced is to visit the Indiana Medical History Museum, located on the grounds of the now-closed Central State Hospital. Housed in the Old Pathology Building, the museum offers a glimpse into medicine in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The building is the oldest surviving pathology building in the country and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Parking at the Indiana Medical History Museum
If you follow the IndyGo map you will get lost. Take either Route 3 or 8 to North Warman Avenue, turn on to Warman, then turn onto Vermont Street. The museum has a dedicated parking lot, and parking is free. A small sign is outside the museum, which is close to Colfax Street.
Best and Worst Times to Go to the Indiana Medical History Museum
The museum has odd hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday through Saturday. Check the website for winter hours and holiday closings. Call before you go to make sure they're open. Visitor traffic is unpredictable except when the museum is hosting an event, in which case it will be crowded. Tours begin on the hour, with the last tour starting at 3 p.m.
There is a small fee for adults, with a discount for students (university ID required), seniors, and children under 18. It's well worth the price of admission and is cheaper than most museums. The museum does not accept credit or debit cards.
Must See/Do at Indiana Medical History Museum
View the portrait of Dr. Richard Fletcher in the lecture hall and listen to the story of his burning the hospital's restraints in a bonfire in 1883 (an action that would be controversial even by today's standards). In the photography lab, you can use a steropticon to view the open sores on the foot of a syphilis patient in 3D. The Anatomical Museum contains two skeletons and several preserved dissected brains--which were once stolen, sold on eBay and recovered in a sting operation. The Medicinal Plant Garden features many herbs used in treatment (remember, natural does not mean safe and some of the plants in the Garden are poisonous). The garden is intended to be self-guided, but guided tours by Purdue University Master Gardeners are free and available Saturdays at 11 a.m. June through September (this does not include a tour of the building).
Other Places to Visit Near Indiana Medical History Museum
The museum is located a short drive from White River State Park. The park is home to several museums and memorials, as well as the Indianapolis Zoo.
Insider Tip for Visitors to the Indiana Medical History Museum
Make sure to read Nurse Inez "Townsy" Bell Townsend's ambition in the yearbook displayed in the Anatomical Museum.
Author's bio: Becky Oberg is a professional writer who has lived in Indianapolis on and off for nearly thirty years. Her hobbies include acting, singing, writing, and playing video games.