- By Native News Online Staff
INDIANAPOLIS – For more than 30 years, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Arthas championed the understanding of the art, history and cultures of the Indigenous peoples of North America and of the American West through its eclectic, storytelling exhibits. But since March 17, following the COVID-19 outbreak, that mission was somewhat halted — but not entirely.
During the closure, museum staff launched an enhanced website featuring interactive content about exhibits and programs, including curator videos and educational activities. Three months into the pandemic, its doors will soon reopen for in-person business. The first day back is Saturday, June 20, but it's only open to members through June 26, as its “members appreciation week.” Then, on June 27, the Eiteljorg opens to the general public with regular admission. Advance tickets are available here. The downtown Indianapolis museum, located within White River State Park, has extended its primary exhibitions interrupted by the pandemic, allowing visitors a chance to catch up on what they missed during the shutdown, according to Eiteljorg Museum President and CEO John Vanausdall. “We greatly appreciate the understanding of our members and supporters during the temporary closure, and are grateful for the way they embraced our interactive online website,” Vanausdall said in a statement. “Now we are looking forward to welcoming back our visitors in person.”
“The Eiteljorg is a calming, open and clean space,” Vanausdall added. “Once people can make plans to visit cultural attractions again, we hope they will visit the Eiteljorg Museum first – and when here, experience the exhibit Quilts: Uncovering Women’s Stories first.” Along with the Quilts exhibit, the other two extended exhibitions include Please Touch: The Sculptures of Michael Naranjo and For A Love of His People: The Photography of Horace Poolaw.
Front exterior of the Eiteljorg Museum (Image courtesy Jessica Strickland Photography, 2013)
Visitors are encouraged to order their tickets in advance at eiteljorg.org to reduce in-person purchases. Assisting the museum with other aspects of the reopen process is Dr. Richard Feldman, M.D., an Eiteljorg Board member, family physician and former Indiana State Health Commissioner. “In reviewing the institution’s reopening plan, I am very pleased with its detailed, thorough and thoughtful design based on the best available public health advice from national and state experts,” said Dr. Feldman in a statement. “I believe visitors to the museum will find the very safest environment possible. This is dependent in part, of course, on the visiting public being mindful of protocols put in place and exercising appropriate hand sanitation, mask-wearing and social distancing.”
Upon entering the building, which is located at Central Canal at 500 West Washington St., guests are required to wear face masks and will receive a non-invasive temperature check. Guests must also follow the blue “permission lines” marked on the floor to maintain social distancing around exhibits and follow other directions of museum staff. Beyond that, hand sanitizing stations are located around the building and seating capacity is reduced in the Museum Café so that customer tables can be spaced at appropriate distances. Recent state and city government orders now allow the Eiteljorg and other Indiana museums to reopen at 50 percent capacity to visitors.
More Stories Like ThisBiden Affirms Commitment to Tribal Nations, Announces New Initiatives at White House Tribal Nations Summit
PHOTOS: The White House Tribal Nations Summit
WATCH: The White House Tribal Nations Summit
Tribal Leaders to Attend First In-person White House Tribal Nations Summit in Six Years
Tribal Business News Round Up: Nov. 28
You’re reading the first draft of history.
November is Native American Heritage Month in the United States. We feel like every month — and every day — is a reason for celebrating Native Americans and our heritage. That’s what we try to do here at Native News Online, with stories each day that celebrate, inform and uplift American Indian and Alaska Native people. Over the past year or so, we have been especially busy with three important reporting projects that are having an impact across Indian Country:
- Indian Boarding Schools. We’ve reported and published more than 150 stories and special live stream video events to help shine a light on the dark era of boarding schools — and help create momentum for change.
- Native Health Desk. Launched in January, this reporting initiative was created to heighten awareness of Native American health inequities and spotlight pockets of progress in Indian Country. So far we’ve reported and published nearly 120 stories and launched a monthly health newsletter that reaches more than 23,000 readers.
- Native Bidaske. In March, we launched this live stream interview program to highlight the work of Native Americans who are making news and leading change in Indian Country. We have hosted guests from the federal government and Native rights advocates as well as Indigenous actors, comedians, journalists and models.
We hope you will join us in celebrating Native American heritage and history this November and invite you to consider the old adage that “Journalism is the first draft of history.” If you appreciate the voice Native News Online gives to Native American people, we hope you will support our work with a donation so we can build our newsroom and continue to amplify Native voices and Native perspectives.
Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked. Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10. Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.