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Art and History

Boone County is bursting with arts and culture. Prominent cultural and historical venues, galleries, and a host of exciting annual events compose the artistic side of the rustic county. And if the local culture is not enough, Boone County’s proximity to Indianapolis provides residents and visitors with easy access to even more cultural avenues. Indy destinations, such as the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum and NCAA Hall of Champions, to name a few, draw in people from all over who enjoy exploring a piece of Indiana’s cultural landscape.

Delve into the area’s cultural heritage at the SullivanMunce Cultural Center, a vibrant destination for sensational artwork, history and genealogy. This vital community resource, located in Zionsville, welcomes those who are eager to laud and participate in the cultural history and future of the area.

The Munce Art Center presents and nurtures the arts in the counties of Boone, Hendricks, Hamilton, Hancock and Marion. Works of art from local and regional artists are exhibited and sold through six professional art shows and two community art shows every year. On top of the exhibitions, the center provides fine art education to children and adults alike, with instruction on such disciplines as ceramics, oil painting, watercolor, drawing, digital photography and yoga.

The SullivanMunce Cultural Center’s P.H. Sullivan Museum and Genealogy Library is composed of exhibition galleries, a genealogy library and archives related to the heritage of Zionsville, Boone County and the state of Indiana. The genealogy library has grown to encompass more than 5,000 volumes of research materials, making it one of the largest collections contained within a privately funded genealogy library in this area.

Zionsville is also home to the Midwest’s largest toy collection, housed within the unique Carter’s Toy Museum. The historic, three-story structure is lined with an assortment of antique toys; coin-operated rides, including a merry-go-round and bumper cars; arcade games; and much more. It’s easy to spend an entire day at the museum—not only browsing through the antiques, but also shopping the antique and gift shops and visiting the old-time ice cream parlor.

Lebanon is home to the Boone County Historical Society, which was reorganized in 1976. The Society is a nonprofit organization devoted to the study of historical state and county matters with a specific interest in Boone County, its history, and its pioneer citizens and former residents. It is located in the historical 1893 Cragun House, which is available for rent for special occasions.

Sponsored by the Sugar Creek Historical Society, the Thorntown Museum is a celebration of this Indiana area’s bygone days. The museum is bristling with distinct memorabilia, artifacts, photographs, and further items used by many of Thorntown and its surrounding area’s early residents. Among these prominent inhabitants were Native Americans, pioneers, soldiers, farmers, merchants and inventors. Much of Thorntown’s history, and the role it played in the development of Boone County, can be learned in the Thorn Room, while a host of Native American relics are on display in the Stone Room. The garden bounding the museum is not only filled with beautiful plants native to the area in 1910, but also features the 1909 fountain, the town’s 1898 curfew bell, the 1914 cornerstone of Thorntown High School, the original iron fence that encompasses the museum property and a 1914 gas lamp.

The fine structure the museum calls home was dedicated to the society by Mrs. Harold S. Spencer for the “Preservation of Our Indian Heritage” in 1977. The lot, which the structure sits upon, was part of the original plat of Thorntown, laid out in 1829-1830. The house itself dates back to around the years 1863-1867.

In addition to the array of intriguing cultural venues, the communities of Boone County also offer a calendar year chock full of events displaying the area’s rich culture. From Zionsville’s Brick Street Gallery Walk, Thorntown’s Art in the Park and events sponsored by the Zionsville Arts Initiative to various annual festivals featuring fine arts and crafts vendors, Boone County presents plenty of opportunities for practicing artists and art enthusiasts.

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