Time on their hands â€¦

There are only 12 steam clocks in the world, and the Indiana State Museumis lucky enough to have one of them. No one else had even imagined a clock powered by steam before Raymond Saunders of Vancouver, British Columbia, had the idea to build one in 1977 for the Gastown area of Vancouver. That one was built to cover a central heat steam vent in the sidewalk. Saunders since went on to build six more, including ours.

The 17-foot tall Indiana State Museum steam clock is located on the sidewalk on the canal side of the museum. It has four 24-inch diameter dials, back-lit by neon. The clock’s eight brass whistles play a few bars of “Back Home Again in Indiana” every 15 minutes, with a fuller rendition played at the top of every hour.

However, the clock has been out of order this summer and needed to be repaired. Turns out it was somewhat of a plumbing issue, with leaky pipes to the eight solenoids that feed into the eight whistles playing “Back Home Again in Indiana.”

So for now, the HVAC people are fixing the leaks. But eventually Mr. Saunders may need to travel from Vancouver to tune the whistles … stay tuned! Yes, pun intended.


A New Look

This is a big week for the museum gift shop, as well as the Imax Theater.  The theater is installing all new carpet for the first time in…well, in many years!  So, instead of popcorn and pop-encrusted flooring, it is emitting that great new-carpet smell and the look is crisp and clean!

Meanwhile, the gift shop is undergoing a makeover as well.  All those Vera Bradley handbags and Indiana cookbooks and other great Indiana gift items are being inventoried and moved around into a much more pleasing presentation for museum visitors.  Stay tuned here for news of great new items soon to populate the gift shop, as well as possibly a contest to name the gift shop!

(Shown below is the limited edition snow globe that features the Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument and plays “Back Home Again in Indiana”.)