Artifacts and Specimens from the Museum's Collections
Selections from the museum's collection are featured on the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library website.
The museum collects objects to use in creating and implementing extraordinary visitor experiences. We preserve those objects and their stories for future generations of children and their families.
In 2012 online visitors voted and shared stories in the 100 Toys project. 20 toys were ranked the top toys that define our childhood.
Since its inception in 1925, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis has been a collecting institution. In 1928, the museum asked Indianapolis schoolchildren to donate items to the collection. The museum has been collecting for over 80 years by donation and purchase. Learn more about the museum's Collecting History.
The American Collection contains objects that reflect trends in popular culture, that advocate an understanding and appreciation of historic movements and events, and help instill an appreciation for personal history—and ordinary people and events—in the American experience. Selections from this collection are featured in The Power of Children: Making a Difference, Carousel Wishes and Dreams, Fireworks of Glass, and All Aboard! exhibits.
Cultural World Collection
The Cultural World Collection encompasses ethnographic, art, and archaeological objects from around the world. Objects illustrate common human experiences such as daily life, life passages, and celebration. Used in museum exhibits and programs, objects are interpreted to encourage visitors of all ages to develop an awareness, understanding, and respect for cultures different from their own. Selections from this collection are featured in Take Me There: Egypt , National Geographic Treasures of the Earth and Mr. Bear's Playhouse exhibits.
Natural Science Collection
The Natural Science Collection comprises unique specimens that help foster curiosity and enthusiasm for the sciences. Items related to zoology, botany, and geology provide core materials that are utilized throughout the museum in exhibits, programs, and interpretation. Selections from this collection are featured in the Dinosphere: Now You’re in Their World and ScienceWorks exhibits as well as the Polly Horton Hix Paleo Prep Lab. Learn more about the Natural Science Collection.
Registrars are the custodians of records for the museum. We are responsible for maintaining the information and documentation of new acquisitions. We catalog new objects, facilitate the removal of obects from the collection, track and monitor the movement and use of objects, and coordinate all incoming and outgoing loans. Learn more about the museum's Collections Management.
The Conservator and Collections Preparator ensure proper conservation and preservation aimed at prolonging the object's life. We monitor environmental conditions in the gallery and storage areas to ensure the safe display and storage of objects. We work closely with exhibit teams to develop proper cases and lighting, prepare special mounts, and safely install objects.