Backyard Discoveries: Indiana Medical History Museum

Well, hello! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I haven’t forgotten about Backyard Discoveries, dear readers, even if this particular discovery is a little belated (by say, oh, maybe three months or so).

I visited Indiana in October, and one of the places I found on a list of must-sees was the Indiana Medical History Museum. I enjoy the weird and the historical, so this seemed like a perfect place to stop on a soon-to-be-rainy afternoon.

Indiana Medical History Museum

Things to Know Before You Go:

  • The museum is only about three miles west of downtown Indianapolis – stop by on your way to or from downtown!

  • If you visit, it’s through guided tour only. Which you’ll want anyway, because how else would you learn about the building and its history? Our docent was an absolute delight and firecracker. They were super knowledgeable about the museum, and also about the medical field – being a former nurse and current nursing professor.
    • No need to reserve a tour (unless you’re a larger group or perhaps need special accommodations),  as you can just show up. Tours are given every hour, on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays.
    • Admission is per person, but only $10 for adults and less for seniors and students. Might I also remind you that the museum is a non-profit and these fees help with funding (and so do donations, so feel free to give more if you feel so inclined).
  • Lastly and importantly, in case it wasn’t clear, this is a MEDICAL history museum. There are specimens. There is talk of cadavers. There is an autopsy table (pictured below). This building also was once part of the larger campus of a psychiatric hospital. If the thought of any of these things makes you or anyone in your party uncomfortable, do yourself and them a kindness and perhaps check out another Indianapolis attraction like the canal walk downtown instead!

The guided tour delves into the museum’s history, from the building’s inauguration in 1896 to its use as a place to study mental illness as a part of the former Central State Hospital.

You’ll get to see and learn about each room in this former pathological department, from a lecture amphitheater, to labs and even a photography room.

Not to be missed is the relics of their studies – slides, specimens and more. If you’re looking to see a slice of brain in a box or perhaps a full skeleton, this is the place for you.

That’s a wrap for this installment of Backyard Discoveries. And hopefully, it’s given you another idea of how to cure your little travel bug. See you next time!

Just what the doctor ordered,


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  1. This is so cool! My fiance is a doctor so he would love to visit a museum like this!

    • waitingforrain28

      That’s awesome! My dad is a doctor as well, I wonder if he would enjoy this.

  2. Wow, what and interesting medical museum that I never knew existed. Please share more.

    • waitingforrain28

      There are these kinds of museums all over the world, actually! The first one I went to was in Scotland!

  3. I love the article, it is well written and has great information.

  4. Elizabeth O

    It sounds like a fascinating place to visit and I bet all the forensics students would love it. I’ll be in the other side of town. Haha.

    • waitingforrain28

      Forensic students would definitely enjoy this place, I know that I would if I was studying forensics. It is so amazing how far we have come in terms of understanding the human body!

  5. Sheena Moncatar

    Is it just me or is it really that medical history museums look creepy. I have never been into one though. Might as well go, right? Thanks for sharing.

    • waitingforrain28

      Nah, I feel that way too. But it really depends on the museum. I went to one in the UK that I had to leave after an hour, but not all of them are so focused on specimens.

  6. blair villanueva

    Quite interesting this medical museum and I couldn’t deny that feels quite eerie. Or maybe I’m not used to seeing medical items, etc.

    • waitingforrain28

      It is definitely eerie, but at least these things have contributed to progress in human health around the world!

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