State Historic Site Featured on “Jeopardy” show

“Underground Railroad” category on Thursday, 2/26/09  Jeopardy show…….Here’s the question:

“Levi Coffin’s house in  Indiana, a national historic landmark, was known as THIS in the Underground Railroad….for $400. do you know what it is?”  (see below or here for answer)

"Grand Central Station" of the Underground Railroad

"Grand Central Station" of the Underground Railroad

Angel Mounds says goodbye to weeds!

The fire!

The fire!

Yesterday we conducted our annual/biannual burn of the mounds at Angel Mounds State Historic Site. We were able to take care of three of the mounds (A, E and G) with great success on a total wipeout of the “bad” plants (we hope). While they were at it, DNR Fire Headquarters staff burned about five acres of the fields around the site in an effort to rid us of broom sage and give our wildflower plantings a chance to take off well this spring.

The results.

The results.

After a burn, the site takes on a post-apocalyptic appearance, especially right after the fire goes out because the ground is “steaming” with the last of the smoke. I’m sure the neighbors wondered why huge plumes of smoke were blowing through the neighborhood. Fortunately, the wind dissipated the smoke quickly and we received no irate phone calls.

We are planning on more for next year, tackling one of the largest fields where the temple mound is situated.

Mike Linderman is the sectional archaeology manager at Angel Mounds State Historic Site.

Enhancing the Visit (not the visitor)

reptile_day_2005As visitor program specialist for the Indiana State Museum, I get to coordinate live demonstrations as part of our Visitation Enhancement program. Often mistakenly called the “Visitor Enhancement” program, (which is entirely unnecessary as our visitors are just fine already, thank you very much) this program helps provide our guests with a little something extra by offering them the opportunity to meet area experts and talk about all sorts of interesting topics in person.

These demonstrators are fascinating people with great stories and working with them is always so much fun. They love sharing their experiences and educating visitors of all ages about animals, insects and plants. Many bring live animals with them and you may get to touch a snake, see hawk or pet a salamander.

utopia_wildlife_rehabilitatorsSo if you’re planning a trip to the museum in February, March or April, make sure to check out our website calendar to see when we will be hosting Utopia Wildlife Rehabilitators, “Indiana Jim” Horton, Frank Rouse, Dani Tippmann, “Snakehead Ed” Ferrer, John Thieme and Terri Warne to talk about everything from plants and insects to snakes, bats and birds. Most demonstrations will take place in either the newly opened Footprints: Balancing Nature’s Diversity exhibit (which is super awesome and showcases some great specimens from our collection) or in the R.B. Annis Naturalist’s Lab.

I’d love to hear about who your favorite demonstrator is and what you learned!

For more information on when these live demonstrations take place and what they entail, please visit the calendar on our official museum website:

What’s In A Name?

Cappi Phillips' Signature Artist piece for the 2009 Indiana Art Fair.

Cappi Phillips' Signature Artist piece for the 2009 Indiana Art Fair.

The time has almost arrived. The Indiana Art Fair is right round the corner! And with that, the Signature Artist piece has been revealed and will be on display in the museum’s Frank O’Bannon Great Hall leading up to the event. Though plans for the event are pretty much finalized there is one last point of business – there is not title for the Signature Artist piece!

Here is your chance to get involved with a real piece of art. We are looking for a title for this year’s 2009 Indiana Art Fair Signature Piece by Bloomington, Indiana artist Cappi Phillips. To contribute, visit the Indiana Art Fair on Feb. 21 or 22 and visit Cappi’s booth to get an up close view of the piece and leave your title suggestions. The chosen title will be shared via the museum’s website by the end February.

Indoor Birdwatching


Who would’ve thought that inside the Indiana State Museum would be a good place for bird watching?  Well, turns out the museum’s Curator of Biology, Damon Lowe has “planted” various native bird specimens around the Grand Hall as part of the soon-to-open Footprints: Balancing Nature’s Diversity exhibit.  Binoculars not necessarily needed!