8 Indy museums and more offering free admission to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King

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For many museums across Indianapolis, this year's Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be a gateway to learn about the civil rights leader's legacy and how the fight for equity has unfolded historically and today. And the institutions are offering free admission to celebrate the Monday holiday.

In addition to opening up their usual collections, many attractions have programmed music, dance and storytelling along with activities that highlight social justice and how artists in Indianapolis use their platform to advocate for ideals that King taught.

All of the free admission days are on Monday, except for Newfields, which will celebrate the day Sunday. To limit capacity during the pandemic, some museums are requiring that people reserve tickets in advance. Others highly recommend doing so. In keeping with the spirit of King's community work, many attractions also are asking that visitors make a monetary donation to food banks.

MLK Day: 5 Indianapolis events to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art is undergoing renovations to its Native American galleries for the first time since it opened Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Indianapolis.
The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art is undergoing renovations to its Native American galleries for the first time since it opened Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Indianapolis.

Indiana State Museum

650 W Washington St. More information: indianamuseum.org/programs/free-day-martin-luther-king-jr-day

Reflect on the civil rights and equity struggles in the U.S. through activities, performances and a viewing of copies of the Emancipation Proclamation and 13th Amendment. The museum will show videos with King's speeches as well.

Eiteljorg Museum

500 W. Washington St. More information: eiteljorg.org/martinlutherkingday

Along with an at-home activity and free virtual screening of "Freedom Riders," the museum is opening its doors for people to see work by its 2021 Contemporary Art Fellowship artists and the final day of Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure, among other exhibitions of Native and Western art.

NCAA Hall of Champions

700 W. Washington St. More information: ncaahallofchampions.org/hours-and-prices-2

The hall will offer a scavenger hunt, opportunities to take photos with the 2022 women's and men's basketball trophies, and the chance to win raffle prizes for NCAA merchandise.

Indianapolis Zoo

1200 W. Washington St. More information: indianapoliszoo.com/events/mlk-day

Animals who are at home in the cold — like the Arctic fox, sea lions, walrus, tigers and brown bears — will be out to greet visitors. Warm up with indoor exhibits, too, including Oceans, Dolphin Dome, Deserts Dome and the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center.

The Children's Museum

3000 N. Meridian St. More information: childrensmuseum.org/visit/calendar/event/214

Jan. 13 update: Tickets for The Children's Museum on Martin Luther King Jr. Day are now sold out, and the museum will not release any additional ones on the day of. The next free admission day is Presidents Day on Feb. 21. Tickets will be available for that day at 9 a.m. Feb. 11.

The museum will spotlight stories of children who accomplished courageous acts during the Civil Rights Movement, including a short film about Ruby Bridges, who was one of the first Black students to integrate public schools. The Griot Drum Ensemble will bring traditional West African and Diaspora drumming, and kids can learn about the construction and vandalism of the 2020 Black Lives Matter mural on Indiana Avenue. Reserving an advance ticket is required.

Conner Prairie

13400 Allisonville Road in Fishers. More information: connerprairie.org/dr-martin-luther-king-jr-day

Explore social justice through a mural, poetry session, musical performance, quilt project, and an examination of voting rights, housing and gerrymandering. Visitors must reserve a timed ticket.

Indiana Historical Society

450 W. Ohio St. More information: indianahistory.org/events/martin-luther-king-day

Learn more about King and the history of the holiday that honors him. Take in a musical performance and children's book reading, and participate in a community conversation led by cultural development firm Ganggang. Visitors are encouraged to bring new packs of kids' socks and underwear for Charity Cares Early Academy.

Newfields

4000 Michigan Road. More information: discovernewfields.org/calendar/mlk-day-speaking-love

The museum will celebrate Sunday with free admission, activities and musical, spoken word and dance performances. Reserving advance tickets is required, and visitors are encouraged to bring an unopened box of pasta for Second Helpings.

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Contact IndyStar reporter Domenica Bongiovanni at 317-444-7339 or d.bongiovanni@indystar.com. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @domenicareports.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Martin Luther King Day brings free entrance to Indianapolis museums

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