2018-09-12 / Front Page

Experience life on the frontier with new IHS exhibit

You are there 1839: Religion and the divided frontier opens Sept. 22

The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) invites guests to experience a snapshot of what life was like when the Hoosier state was part of the Old Northwest with its newest exhibit, You Are There 1839: Religion and the Divided Frontier. The exhibit opens Sept. 22 and runs through April 25, 2020, at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, located at 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis.

You Are There 1839: Religion and the Divided Frontier takes guests inside a small inn located in Danville, Indiana, during a period of religious and political transformation known as the Western Revival. The inn provides a setting where men and women of different backgrounds, religious and political beliefs interact.

Once inside, visitors will meet actors portraying a cast of characters including Eli Farmer, a traveling preacher known for his joyous sermons as well as his propensity for brawling; Elizabeth, his wife; an innkeeper; a judge; and a variety of other Hoosiers making a life on the frontier.

In another section of the exhibit, guests can explore this period of Indiana’s history through artifacts, artwork and an introductory video. An interactive touch-screen display shows visitors where roads and canals provided transportation for early residents, while additional maps show where Farmer traveled and where different religious denominations flourished. In addition, guests can discover the challenges of crossing the state on horseback through a life-size replica horse with a real saddle and tack.

To bring this story to life, IHS turned to its latest book, Faith and Fury: Eli Farmer on the Frontier, 1794- 1881, by Riley B. Case. Guests who want to learn more about Farmer’s life and impact can purchase the book, starting Sept. 22, in the History Center’s Basile History Market or online at shop.indianahistory.org.

You Are There 1839: Religion and the Divided Frontier is supported by a generous planning grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. IHS’s Museum Theater Program is supported by the Arts Council and the City of Indianapolis. The exhibit is included with admission to the Indiana Experience, which is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for kids (ages 5-17). IHS members and children younger than 5 receive free admission.

For more information about You Are There 1839: Religion and the Divided Frontier and other IHS exhibits and offerings, call (317) 232-1882 or visit www.indianahistory.org.

About the Indiana Historical Society

Since 1830, the Indiana Historical Society has been Indiana’s Storyteller™, connecting people to the past by collecting, preserving 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 experiences called the Indiana Experience. IHS also provides support and assistance to local museums and historical groups; publishes books and periodicals; sponsors teacher workshops; produces and hosts art exhibitions, museum theater and outside performance groups; and provides youth, adult and family programs. IHS is a Smithsonian Affiliate and a member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.

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