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How to Visit the Eiteljorg Museum - Indy’s Best Kept Secret

exterior of the Eiteljorg Museum and decorative a statue of deer

My friends, when I was planning my travel to Indianapolis, every blog I touched down on mentioned Indy’s museums. They raved about Newfields and the Indiana State Museum. Very few of them mentioned the incredible institution that is the Eiteljorg Museum.

Pronounced EYE-tell-georg (like George), the Eiteljorg Museum focuses on Native American art, and art that features the American West.

Art of the American West

The first floor focuses on the American west, full of bronze sculptures of cowboys and broncos, stunning western landscapes (including a Georgia O’Keefe or two!), and art featuring Native Americans. This era of art was rife with stereotypes, and this museum does a really beautiful job of addressing that. It also makes sure to feature depictions of the cultures that aren’t usually associated with the American west, like the incredible amount of East Asian immigrants that settled in California during this same period.

There’s also a special exhibition hall on the first floor with rotating exhibits. When I visited, they were hosting an exhibition on Dorothea Lange and photography in the Great Depression era. Did you know that the woman in the famous “Migrant Mother” photo, the face of the Great Depression, was Cherokee? I had no idea until the Eiteljorg museum told me.

The Eiteljorg Museum's Native American Art Galleries

The second floor is where the Native American art takes center stage. Historical pieces are displayed thoughtfully alongside works by modern Native artists. Signs and images in every room highlight the struggles that native cultures have faced, while also celebrating their unique styles and accomplishments. Overall it’s an incredibly thoughtful and beautiful way to present so much stunning native art.

Visiting with some youngbloods? The museum is peppered with “please touch!” areas, and the entire bottom floor is a discovery and play area for the kiddos!

The Eiteljorg Museum is truly Indianapolis's best kept secret. It’s a beautifully crafted museum with expertly designed exhibits. You’ll learn something, but you’ll be enjoying yourself so much that you’ll barely notice. Buy a ticket and thank me later. Enjoy!

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