The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) and the Indiana State Fair Commission (ISFC) are pleased to announce that the Indiana Bicentennial Train, and IHS program funded generously by The Indiana Railroad Company and Norfolk Southern Corporation, will move to the Indiana State Fairgrounds to commemorate the upcoming state Bicentennial (2016). As part of a five-year agreement to bring its on-board exhibit and additional activities to fairgoers, the Bicentennial Train will debut at its new location during the 2015 Indiana State Fair Year of the Farmer presented by DOW Agrosciences, which runs Aug. 7-23.
The Indiana Bicentennial Train is in the process of being moved to the Indiana State Fairgrounds, where 200 feet of track has been laid by ISFC at its new home. It will reside on the northeast side of the fairgrounds, in the Family Fun Park.
The Bicentennial Train’s three air-conditioned box cars are used as galleries to display The Next Indiana—a look at the state’s past, present and future through the lenses of four themes (transportation, land use, talent and community). Several hundred visuals from the IHS’s rich archival collections show historical and contemporary images that will inspire visitors to ponder the state’s future—which depends on an understanding of how our past has shaped the present, and is connected to the choices we are making today.
During peak hours, fairgoers can see noted historical interpreter Kevin Stonerock playing a character especially created for the train. Guests can also enjoy a family-friendly activity tent, where they can add to giant mind maps that allow them to reflect on their own Indiana memories and see how their Hoosier neighbors envision Indiana’s future.
“We are thrilled for this chance to share the Indiana Bicentennial Train with such a large audience from around the state, while also offering an extra attraction for our fantastic Indiana State Fair,” said John A. Herbst, IHS President and CEO. “It is our hope that sharing stories from Indiana’s last 200 years will not only celebrate the Bicentennial, but will also inform decisions that will determine what kind of place Indiana will be in 25, 50 and even 100 years from now.”
Since 2013, the Bicentennial Train has visited eight communities around the state – Kokomo, New Haven, Valparaiso, and Delphi in 2013, followed by Columbus, Jasper, Terre Haute and Bargersville in 2014. By positioning it at the Indiana State Fair in 2015 and 2016, the train will continue to reach a statewide audience of Hoosiers.
“The Indiana State Fair has been a part of Hoosier lives since 1852 and like the Bicentennial Train we have been a vessel to showcase our industry’s evolution,” said Cindy Hoye, Executive Director of the Indiana State Fair. “We are happy to have such a historically rich partnership with the Historical Society and know this addition to the Fairgrounds will only enhance our visitor’s experience.”
The Indiana Bicentennial Train is presented by the Indiana Historical Society, in partnership with the Indiana State Fair Commission, Indiana Humanities and the Indiana Bicentennial Commission. It is funded generously by the Indiana Rail Road Company and Norfolk Southern Corporation, with support from Kroger.
Since 1830, the Indiana Historical Society has been Indiana’s Storyteller, connecting people to the past by collecting, preserving, interpreting and sharing the state’s history. A private, nonprofit membership organization, IHS maintains the nation’s premier research library and archives on the history of Indiana and the Old Northwest and presents a unique set of visitor exhibitions called the Indiana Experience. IHS also provides support and assistance to local museums and historical groups, publishes books and periodicals; sponsors teacher workshops; and provides youth, adult and family programming. The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, home of the IHS and the Indiana Experience, is located at 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis.
The Indiana State Fair Commission is a quasi-governmental agency that oversees year-round management of the fairgrounds. The Commission operates as an eight member body that is governor appointed and hires an executive director to implement the policies of the Commission. Established in 1892, the fairgrounds is a modern public event facility that annually hosts more than 300 meetings, shows, sports and agriculture events, including the Indiana State Fair. The Indiana State Fair was first held in 1852 and is the state’s largest multi-day event celebrating the Hoosier spirit and agricultural heritage. The fairgrounds is one of Indiana’s top tourist destinations annually attracting 2 million visitors to its 250-acre campus in Indianapolis’ Midtown district and adding $124 million to the local economy. The Commission’s mission is to preserve and enhance the Indiana State Fairgrounds and the annual Indiana State Fair for the benefit of all citizens of Indiana. Additional information is available at www.indianastatefair.com.