Currently logged out. Login
Currently logged out. Login

Sacred Places

Open Sept. 9, 2023–April 7, 2024

This fall, we will bring the world to Indianapolis through the exploration of a dozen locations, focusing on six main sacred places, each representing different faiths. You'll “meet” a young guide from each community who will describe how they feel, what they do, and what they experience when they visit their sacred site.

Learning about these places through the lens of these real people can help us better communicate with our neighbors, leading to mutual understanding and respect. 

Made possible by

Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue

Explore the oldest “living” synagogue in the Americas. Meet Nathan—a member of the community who leads morning prayer services and the learn about the importance of community in the Jewish faith.

“We’ve always had services on Fridays and Saturdays,  so when I’m [leading prayers],  I’m keeping that tradition going  so we can keep the synagogue living.”


Beheading of St. John the Baptist Church & St. George Church
Madaba, Jordan 

Explore Christian sites in the heart of biblical holy lands. Meet Jude—a member of the community who leads the congregation in prayer during mass and hear about the ancient church tradition of telling biblical stories through intricate mosaics.

“When I remember I have to do the reading, my heart starts pumping really bad. I don’t want to mess up…But, afterwards, it just feels like an accomplishment—I participated in the Mass.”


Great Mosque of Djenné 
Djenné, Mali

Explore one of Africa’s most famous buildings and the largest mud and brick structure on Earth. Meet Aïssata—a member of the community who organizes the girls in her neighborhood for replastering of the structure, an annual, festive community event.

“Starting at dawn, we carry water from the river  to the mosque. The water keeps the mud soft enough to spread on the walls.”


Patan Durbar Square
Lalitpur, Nepal

Explore the bustling square filled with a beautiful palace and 55 major Hindu temples, each one dedicated to a god. Meet Shivesh—a member of the community who performs daily puja offerings at the Keshav Narayan Temple.

"We don't like to skip meals so we don't want gods to (skip meals either).”


Rapa Nui island
Rapa Nui, Chile

Explore Rapa Nui—also known as Easter Island. Meet Merahi—a member of the community who honors the moai, ancestors embodied by ancient and enormous stone statues

"I think Mana (an energy that flows through all things and people) makes us feel that we belong to a place, and that our energy can return  to that place.”


Wat Arun Temple
Bangkok, Thailand

Explore one of the most remarkable Buddhist temples in Thailand. Meet Kaew—a member of the community who is a monk-in-training and follow him on his daily routine, including morning and evening chants in the prayer space and collection of food offerings throughout the community.

“I feel good when I go and receive food. Because it is an activity that even the Buddha did…and we still do it.”


Members get more!

You'll see this exhibit (and more!) in the 2023 exhibit lineup. Buy a membership today for a year of unlimited visits.

Membership options >

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. The principal aim of the Endowment’s religion grantmaking is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay leadership of Christian communities. The Endowment also seeks to improve public understanding of diverse religious traditions by supporting fair and accurate portrayals of the role religion plays in the United States and across the globe.