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Eiteljorg Museum Exterior

Eiteljorg Museum

500 West Washington Street

Indianapolis, Indiana 46204

Written by Julie Greiner
Indianapolis businessman and philanthropist Harrison Eiteljorg founded the museum in 1989. The Eiteljorg Museum is at the entrance to White River State Park in the center of the hub of the greater Indianapolis Metro area. The museum combines Eiteljorg's collection of Western and Native American Art along with the collection formerly housed in the Museum of Indian Heritage in Indianapolis. This is the only museum in the Midwest to combine collections of American Western art and Native American art and objects. The American Western collection spans the early 19th century to the present and includes paintings, drawings, graphics and sculptures.

American Indians and Western Art

The highlight of the collection is works by artists such as Joseph Henry Sharp, E.I. Couse, Ernest Blumenschein and Victor Higgins. The Native American collection presents the art of cultural groups from coast to coast and includes pottery, basketry, woodcarvings, beadwork, apparel and more. The museum has over 3,400 pieces in its collection.

Taos New Mexico Society

Pass through the massive mahogany doors of the Eiteljorg Museum and you'll be gripped by the romance, tragedy and beauty of the American West. Objects tell the story of a people. The grizzly bearclaw necklace worn by an illustrious warrior was Eiteljorg Museum Storea symbol of his status. Kachina dolls taught Hopi children about their place in their culture. hands-on programs help you learn how similar objects were made and used. The museum building bears a distinctive Southwestern look. The honey-colored Minnesota stone that covers the exterior consists of 8,000 individually cut pieces that were placed on the building in the same order in which they were quarried, giving the outside the look of underground rock. The columns that support the main canopy are the trunks of large cedar trees from the Pacific Northwest.

America's First Peoples

A shy Pueblo bride is comforted by the groom
in "The Wedding" by E.I. Couse. The painting is one of the most popular at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, as well as one of Couse's most widely admired works. Painted in 1924, this was the last of the Beacon Manufacturing Co. commissions from which life-size advertising cutouts were made to display in retail stores. Retailers were permitted to cover the blanket in the cutout with a commercial Beacon blanket.

The Wedding by Couse

In addition to permanent and traveling exhibitions, the museum features educational and entertaining programs, such as artists in residence, workshops, Eiteljorg Museum Native American Exhibitlectures and more. The museum store was voted the number 1 museum store in Indianapolis. White River Trader offers unique handcrafted fine art, gifts, jewelry, books and apparel. Complimentary public tours are conducted daily at 1 p.m. Children, seniors and a scheduled groups enjoy special discounts off the regular admission price. The museum is located at 500 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 - downtown Indianapolis within walking distance of the RCA Dome, Circle Centre and major hotels. The museum is accessible to people of all abilities. For more information call: (317) 636-9378.
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Last Updated: September 23, 2015