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Indiana State Museum - Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy – The Exhibition

The Indiana stop is officially the LAST STOP of the LOTR Traveling Exhibit.  Many other exhibits have sold out, so get your tickets early.
  • Indiana State Museum - October 6, 2005 - January 3, 2006
  • Run dates:
    • October 6, 2005 - January 3, 2006
  • No cameras or sketching allowed!  However you may bring paper in to take notes. but no notebooks.  (Go figure!)  Don't blame the Indy museum, the silly probation came from on high.

LOTR Costume Events that we are planned around the exhibit

Please sign up on the Indianapolis Gather Data Base on the costume gather board if you are interested in attending.

Note: costumes are welcome but NO weapons, either real or prop.  This includes swords (real or plastic), bows, wizard staffs, even if it's the kid toy version.  Nothing that has the silhouette of a weapon.

Check out our Gathering discussion group for the latest info.  Here's our tentative schedule:

Other Planned Events

Taste of New Zealand

  • October 14 and November 3 at 7:00 pm in the LS Ayres Tea Room. 
  • 5 course meal featuring wines, seafood and lamb from New Zealand. 
  • Cost is $65  a plate and you will probably have to make reservations ahead of time. (more info on their site)

The museum is planning more local activities, but no information yet; I will put things up on the gather board as soon as I get notice (I am museum member, so I get the advance emails).

Activity Schedule:

Museum details:

Attend the exhibit, have lunch or dinner at the LS Ayres Tea Room (inside the Museum), and attend an LOTR showing at the IMAX theatre.

Spend the Night with The One Ring

  • December 28, 2005 Sold out
  • December 26, 2005 - just added
  • Trivia contests, movie screening, exhibit tour, bed down in the gallery, breakfast
  • Tickets: $45 for museum members and $50 for non-
    members. Space is limited.
  • Call 317.232.1637 for tickets.

Past Activities:

Attend Fan Fair and the midnight opening on October 6.

  • LOTR Fan groups are invited to participate in a Fan Fair
    in the Great Hall of the Museum from 9:30 pm Oct 5 to 4:00 am Oct 6.   Groups will be given hall space and tables to interact with
    each other and the public.  
  • Contact David McDaniel at   for further information.
  • Oct 5 day events:
    • Members Preview 9:00 AM in costume
    • 6:00 Meet up Dinner at McNiven's Restaurant – Scottish and
      American food, 210 varieties of beer.  In costume  339 Massachusetts Avenue (in walking distance of Museum)
    • Oct. 5: (depending if  you've bought tickets) Attend showing of ROTK in costume.  Otherwise arrive at museum around 11:00 to 11:30 for Fan Faire and costume contest
    • Member Opening party
      •  canceled.
  • Attend ROTK showing
    • Showing of ROTK - the museum has informed us that you may not buy separate tickets for the ROTK showing on Opening Night; you must buy the package of tickets to all three films plus opening admission. There may possibly be tickets available on opening night if there are still seats left in the theatre.
  • Attend exhibit opening (Wed night/Thurs)
    • The Celtic Band will start playing at 11:30 and play until around 2:30 am.
    • There will be a costume contest, with registration starting at 11:30.  (details here) Winners will be announced at 12:55 am.
    • Tickets are still available for the 1:00 am time slot.
    • If you belong to the LOTR costume group and are attending the opening, come see me - the museum has kindly offered us free parking and half price admission if you haven't already bought your ticket.
  • Oct 6:   2:00 – 5:00 pm Middle Earth Picnic at Eagle Creek Park, 7840
    W. 56th Street
    • Bring foods mentioned in the hobbit or LOTR – List available
      upon request
    • Sorry no booze allowed
    • Activities available
      • Adult Playground
      • Hiking
      • Rentals of sailboats, canoes, pedal boats, kayaks
      • Nature Center
      • Admission $3.00 per car (up to 6 persons), .25 for nature
  • Oct. 6:  6:00 dinner and cocktails – restaurant to be determined
    • Oct. 6:  8:50 pm FOTR at the museum in costume
  • Oct. 7:   10:00 AM – Tour Indianapolis Zoo at 1200 West Washington
    Street (close to Museum)   Admission $11.50; $12.50 for zoo plus White River Gardens
    • Oct. 7:  After zoo visit, cocktails, dinner
    • Oct 7: 8:50 PM TTT at the museum in costumes
  • Oct  8:  Open – more exhibit visits or tour Indy attraction,
    • Cocktails, dinner
    • 8:50 pm ROTK at the museum in costume

Costumes to be worn as much as possible!

I am posting the absolute latest information from the Museum as on the
Costume Gather Board.  Please be sure to check there for the latest. ==Janice (updated as of 9/28)

Costume Contest Details - Opening Night

There will be an LOTR costume contest for the Indy Exhibit opening on Oct. 5/6.   There will be two categories, children and adult.  Awards will be given for Judge's choice in the children's category and Judge's Choice and Most Creative in the adult category.   The prize will be four Souvenir Tickets; each child participant will receive a prize (not yet specified what it is).   Contestants may register in the O'Bannon Great Hall of the Museum starting at 11:30 pm.  The contest will be informal; the judges will walk around the hall and inspect costumes and may ask questions about your costume.    Winners will be announced at 12:55 am.   Judges are Kathleen Hanover from the Ohio LOTR Costume Group, David McDaniel from the museum staff and myself.


Movie Schedule

Indiana State Museum has posted the schedule for the LOTR film showings at the Imax.   They are offering a special package which includes admission to all three films and the opening at midnight, cost is $37.25 for public and $27.25 for members.

  • FOTR - Monday Oct 3 at 8:50 pm
  • TTT  - Tuesday Oct 4 at 8:50 pm
  • ROTK - Wednesday Oct 5 at 8:50 pm
  • Schedule for the rest of the exhibit will be:
  • Mondays – "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"
  • Tuesdays – "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"
  • Wednesdays – "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King"
  • Thursdays – "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"
  • Fridays – "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"
  • Saturdays – "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King"

Time for these is not yet set, just in the evening.  Admission to individual films is $8.75 adult, $7.50 Senior Citizen and $6.00 children.

Note that these are the theatrical versions NOT the extended versions and are in standard 35mm format.


Note: we don't know yet if Te Papa is going to back down on their paranoid policy and allow regular folks to sketch and take notes.  It may just be press that's allowed to take photos.

We welcome all research done.

  • Our member museum reviews can be found by searching the yahoo archives

Press Releases


Items in the exhibit:

  • The exhibit list is assumed to be the same as Te Papa... see the list <here>
  • This list is compiled from the press releases
    • Frodo and the Hobbits, the wizards, the Black Riders, and elves from Middle-earth."  Elves include Arwen's Chase dress and Galadriel's beaded dress.  (We believe that will be the Mirror Dress.)
    • Gandalf's robes and hat made from hand-woven fabric in Indonesia
    • An "amour corridor" featuring weapons belonging to Arwen, Gandalf, Frodo and Aragorn
    • A display on prosthetics such as Hobbit feet and Orc teeth
  • Highlights:
    • "For the first time ever, the entire collection will be shown at this stop, including interactives from past showings and the complete set of drawings and paintings that inspired set builders, miniature makers and digital artists."
    • "Displays of special effects such as CGI technology, and combined real and digital action Interactive "scaling" display allowing visitors to become Hobbit-sized in their own photo
    • The transformation of Gollum: His digital creation using acting and computer-generated imagery
    • The Ring experience: A large curved enclosure evoking the Cracks of Doom where the One Ring must be thrown
    • Cultures and races of Middle-earth: Looking at the Rohan and Elven cultures and the characters Aragorn, Theoden and Arwen "

Visiting Indianapolis

Anyone want to contribute these????  We're going to have lots of out of towners.

Tips for planning your trip and extra costume and fabric sites

  • General line info
    •  All tickets will be for timed admittance.
    • Go to the bathroom before going in; once you leave, you
      won't be let back in unless you buy another ticket! 
  • How to get there:

General Indianapolis info:

Getting around

Downtown Indy is actually easy to access.   Interstate 465 is the expressway that loops all the way around Indianapolis.   Also you can take Interstate 65 and Interstate 70 and get off right downtown (both connect with 465).

Indy tips:   Do not try to drive at rush hour thinking it cannot possibly be as bad in Indianapolis as it is in other big cities like Boston and Chicago.  It is.

You will not find a parking space in downtown Indy during business hours.  Ditto in the evening if there is an Indianapolis Colts football game on.   It is very similar to Chicago; you will need to find a parking garage but there are lots of them.  White River State Park, where the museum is located, has its own parking garage; have the museum validate your ticket at the front desk and the charge will only be $3.00 for the day.

Parking Map of Indianapolis Downtown here:

 IMHO, the biggest pain about driving in downtown Indy is that a lot of the streets are one way only – so watch the street signs carefully.

Budget Hotels in INDY

Note that these are APPROXIMATE rates based on occupancy by two adults and they ARE budget (you probably won’t get free breakfast or a copy of USA Today).    There is one that is downtown (as usual downtown is more expensive); the rest are on the north side but where it is easy to get downtown (I would say about 20 - 30 minute drive).  As I live here, I haven’t stayed at any of these, but I know they are in good neighborhoods with lots of restaurants nearby:

If you belong to the American Automobile Club, don’t forget to check out the AAA discounts – a lot of hotels here offer them.  


Days Inn Downtown 401 E. Washington:  Best bet if you want to be close to the museum.  Rates about $70.19 - $77.99 for two adults and has a parking facility.     Now here, you COULD get into a bad neighborhood if you stray too far, but if you stay around the museum, CONSECO, Monument Circle, you will be fine.   Lots of restaurants (from McD’s on up) and shopping at Circle City Mall.  

Castleton Area

(North side of Indianapolis, big shopping and restaurant area)

Signature Inn Castleton, 8380 Kelly Lane

Around $79.00.   This is one I can say something about – I used to work near there and  our visitors stayed there and said they liked it.    

Comfort Inn N, 9090 Wesleyan Road – also Castleton area, rates about $64.56 – $67.90


Red Roof Inn Speedway #7074 – Speedway is on west side, a little more residential and I am less familiar with it.  Rates about $44.99 - $48.99.  I know people who have stayed at these inns and they said they were fine.

Airport Area

Days Inn Airport  - West side near Indianapolis International rates about $71.99 to $76.99

(have not researched them too much, but hotels near airport seem to run more expensive)

Michigan Road Area

(north west side; I also used to work in area, tons of restaurants and shops).  You can take Michigan Road almost straight down to Meridian  St. and downtown).

Microtel Inn and Suites: 9140 N. Michigan Road rates about $50.95 to $62.95

Red Roof Inn, 9520 Valparaiso Court – I pass by this one every day; it is very motel like with only two stories.  I know people who have stayed at these inns and they said they were fine.

Downtown Indy

Incidentally, Indy has one of the best downtowns (I really am trying to be unprejudiced); it has been completely renovated over the past two decades (including the part where the museum is).   My favorite is Meridian Street South which is lined with sidewalk cafes and flowerbeds, well I digress)  Also don’t miss a walk around Monument Circle and the Canal (scene of an annual event where tons of rubber duckies are floated away)

Restaurants, budget and otherwise

Indianapolis has literally thousands of restaurants.  A lot are modestly priced, compared to other large cities (most Indianapolis natives will start complaining if a meal goes over $20).   And we like BIG portions here.

Here again, I have listed a lot on the north side.   I have included ones I have eaten at, ones recommended by friends, and ones that have a good reputation

Downtown Indy

Shapiro’s Deli,  808 S. Meridian Street.   Sandwiches and desserts.  For a chocolate overdose, get the Hoosier Mud Pie.

Buca di Beppo, 35 N. Illinois Street.   Rated as one of the best Italian restaurants in Indianapolis.

Yats, 5363 N. College Avenue – Cajun and Creole (but toned down on the spices).  Highly rated and cheap.

The Old Spaghetti Factory, 210 S. Merdian – Not authentic Italian, but cheap and good.

A little further out:

Mississippi Belle, 2170 E. 54th Street:  Southern Cooking.   They serve you family style; you get an individual plate for your main course, and the sides are heaped up in bowls to serve yourself.   And the fried chicken and mashed potatoes are VERY good.

West Side

My two favorite restaurants (located in Indy’s Little India)

The Udupi Café, 4225 Lafayette Road: the best vegetarian (even if you aren’t) restaurant in Indy.   All you can eat buffet for $6.99 at lunch.

India Palace (next door to the Udupi): Not vegetarian – try the Tandoori chicken and goat curry.   And do not miss the gulebis for dessert (the things that look like sweet pretzels) they are to die for.   Again all you can eat buffet for $6.99 at lunch.

North Side, Castleton

Don Pablo’s Mexican Kitchen, 3824 E. 82nd Street.   Reasonably priced Americanized Mexican food.  It is popular with families and can get noisy.

Joe’s Crab Shack, 8250 Dean Road:  A bit more $$$, but good seafood.  This place can get noisy in the evenings as well.

BD’s Mongolian BBQ, 3838 E. 82nd Street:  On the pricey side but fun.   You select your raw ingredients from a bar and give it to the chefs who preside over a large circular grill in the middle of the restaurant; they banter with the customers while they cook.  (Just keep track of which bowl is yours, I once ate somebody else’s dinner here).

Bravo Italian Kitchen, 8651 Castle Creek Parkway, East Drive:  Well rated, recommended by friends.

A bit further west:

The Cheesecake Factory, 8702 Keystone at the Crossing (in the mall):  Not budget, but you can eat for a reasonable sum if you get a sandwich platter.   Try the Navajo.   Their jambalaya with linguine is scrumptious.   Avoid the strawberry lemonade.  Do not leave without trying the cheesecake (doggie boxes available – get the white chocolate raspberry swirl).   Do not even try to eat here on the weekends; it’s too crowded.

Michigan Road

Thai House, 8431 Michigan Road – completely unimpressive building and some of the best Thai food in Indy.

Kabul, 7959 Austrian Drive – Afghan food, highly recommended by friends; however only open in the evening.

Heera Indian Cuisine, 3516 West 86th  Nice little Indian restaurant with great lassi drink and meatballs.   They used to have an all you can eat lunch buffet.

Tejano Joe’s, 5501 West 86th Street – Americanized Mexican, inexpensive and pretty good.


On the northeast, my favorite Chinese place:

The Golden Wok, 8350 East 96 Street:  A hole in wall place, with very reasonably priced Chinese food (get the hot and sour soup).   They do a lot of  carry out (you can stand and watch the chefs cooking it and yelling at each other in Chinese) but you can dine in as well.

Good chain restaurants (locations all over Indy):

Le Peep:   Chicken and egg dishes; reasonable and good.

O’Charley’s:   Try the spinach and artichoke dip.

The Italian Garden

Panera Bread (don’t miss the sweet bagels for breakfast); they do a lot of  bakery stuff but also sandwiches.

And if you are really on a budget, Indianapolis is fast food heaven.   There are McDonald’s, Arby’s, Burger Kings et alia all over the place, including downtown


Alas, Indy is not a good place for fabric shopping.   We have basically the chains (JoAnn’s, Hancock’s and Hobby Lobby).   The smaller, non chain shops are for quilting or home décor.   If you need a fix, JoAnn’s Etc (a favorite Janice hang-out) is at 1315 W. 86th Street in Castleton.


  • Circle City Mall right downtown:   Several stories (there are escalators) of stores.
  • Castleton Square Mall – in the area of the same name.   Huge mall, with just about everything.
  • Glendale Mall – one of the oldest malls in Indy.


Don’t misses:

  • The Indianapolis Zoo
    • 1200 West Washington Street (in White River State Park just like the Museum).   They have a brand new “Dolphin Dome” ; you actually go right into the middle of the dolphin tank.  I haven’t been for a while, but don’t miss the “Waters” building (you go underground and view the polar bear and seal tanks and the polar bear and seals view YOU) along with other aquatic exhibits.   And the Australian section, you go thru a gate and can end up in a herd of adorable miniature kangaroos.
    • Website:
  • The rest of the Indiana State Museum: 
    • I haven’t seen their new building, but they still have a hu-MONG-ous Foucault pendulum suspended from the lobby ceiling to demonstrate the rotation of the earth (you think it’s going to hit you but it doesn’t).   Also a really neat palentological exhibit, and exhibits on Indiana life including Amish (bet you didn’t know Indiana has a bigger Amish population than Pennsylvania).
    • The Children’s Museum:   The world’s largest Children’s Museum with a lot of interactive exhibits of course.   My niece loves it.   Don’t miss the relatively new Dinotopia exhibit and the old fashioned carousel (which you can ride on).
  • The Indianapolis Motor Speedway where the Indianapolis 500 and now the Brickyard 500 take place; there is a museum:
  • President Benjamin Harrison Home:
  • Indianapolis Museum of Art:   They have a brand new building and the Eli Lilly Family Home dating from the 1930’s is now open.   But the biggest attraction is the Ravine Garden, designed by the same man who created Central Park for New York.

Out further but worth the trip:

  • Conner Prairie Museum:   A complete collection of early 19th century buildings.   There are docents in each building who dress in period and talk to you accordingly (don’t miss the schoolmarm and the old country doctor).


All this information compiled by Janice.  Thanks!!!!!

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This page was last updated 04/22/08