Historic Buildings & Grounds

The Children’s Museum called a variety of buildings home over the first 50 years of its existence, including two mansions formerly occupied by wealthy Indianapolis families. What follows is a look at the museum’s various facilities between 1925 and 1976. To learn more about our Modern Campus, click here.

Propylaeum Carriage House

Founded in 1888 as a literary and social club for women, the Propylaeum (which means “gateway to higher culture”) bought an elegant brick house at 1410 N. Delaware Street to serve as its headquarters in 1923.

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Garfield Park Shelter House

The community shelter house in Garfield Park, southeast of downtown Indianapolis, was home to the museum from January 1926 to April 1927. Opened in 1876 and named in honor of President James A. Garfield after his assassination in 1881, Garfield...

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The Carey House

The sprawling three-story brick house at 1150 N. Meridian Street was 30 years old when local businessman John Carey and his wife Mary Stewart Carey bought it in 1903.

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The Vonnegut Building (never built)

Gift of Rockwood property In 1936 The Children’s Museum received an unexpected and very generous gift from board member William Rockwood. Having sold his house in the 3600 block of Washington Boulevard, Rockwood and his wife were giving the museum...

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Parry House

In June 1946, The Children’s Museum bought an elegant limestone house at the corner of N. Meridian and 30th streets, spending $63,500. For the first time in its 21-year history the museum owned the structure housing it.

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1960s Expansions

The 1960s were a period of expansion for the museum, with a number of structures being added to the growing campus. The first was the Dreyer Building. Dreyer Building A 12,000-square-foot facility that combined a ground-floor commercial garage and second-floor...

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Ritchey Woods

Gift to The Children’s Museum Children participated in museum-run nature programs at Ritchey Woods in the 1980s and ’90s. A 127-acre wooded tract of land in Hamilton County several miles north of The Children’s Museum’s main campus, Ritchey Woods was...

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