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Friday, July 12, 2024

Summer Soiree: Canal Nights begins at the Indiana State Museum

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Free games, free activities, free books, oh my!

The Indiana State Museum’s Canal Nights: Summer Celebration is set to take place from 5-7 p.m on Wednesday, June 26.

A free event, Canal Nights will be held outside along the canal walk and inside the Indiana State Museum in the great hall. It will feature games, solar oven decoration activities, DIY beaded UV bracelets and a water sensory table.

“This is a family-focused community event which is free,” said Hayley Wilson, director of interpretation for the Indiana State Museum. “This one is all about summer celebration. Just having family fun on our canal.”

In addition to the games and activities provided by the museum, community partners will also be there to greet guests and provide family-friendly entertainment.

“We see a lot of families come right after work,” Wilson said. “We are just excited to have this. We see a lot of different people and just being able to work alongside other nonprofits is always really fun.”

ArtMix, a nonprofit specializing in transforming the lives of people with and without disabilities through art, will be providing accessible art activities for all ages. Other art tables include the Emma Donnan Elementary and Middle School, who will be providing a canvas bag design station where visitors can fill up their bags with goodies.

Additionally, Dave & Busters will have a five-foot prize wheel for kids to win trinkets, toys and coupons. Indiana State Library, who is partnering with the Indiana State Museum, will give away free children’s books from a table of new and used books.

“We are so excited to have been invited and are looking forward to meeting parents and to meeting like-minded organizations,” said Suzanne Walker, Indiana Young Readers Center librarian.

Canal Nights is designed to be a free and accessible activity for all ages to bring the community together and engage visitors with the Indiana State Museum.

“I think that when you get a free event like this then parents can go and see what’s offered in their community that they might not know about,” Walker said.

A woman and child play with activities outdoors
Activities and games at a previous Canal Nights event. (Photo/Indiana State Museum)

The Indiana State Museum hopes to maintain their standing tradition of Canal Nights in the community for years to come, and Wilson wants this one to be no different.

“This is something that we’ve had for several years. It’s just important to have something that’s free for all families,” Wilson said. “Things can be really pricy so this is something that families can look forward to and we have a lot of fun planning it.”

While the event is a staple for the museum, the organization of such an event can be tricky, especially since the event is outside.

“The most challenging part is the weather. We try to have it outside on the canal, but it can be windy or hot,” Wilson said. “We also have the challenge that, although being downtown is great for a lot of people, it can conflict with other happenings like concerts and baseball games.”

Wilson hopes that Canal Nights being on a Wednesday will encourage families to participate prior to attending a baseball game or other event.

“Sometimes it’s a little hard to plan it all but with it being free it might encourage families to come here then go to another event after,” Wilson said.

The Indiana State Museum will host another back-to-school Canal Nights on July 24. Both events will be free but will require patrons to pay for parking. For more information, visit indianamuseum.org.

Contact Staff Writer Hanna Rauworth at 317-762-7854 or follow her on Instagram at @hanna.rauworth.

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