First published Jan. 22 in TheStatehouseFile.com  

The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites is hosting several events throughout February and April after adapting to COVID-19 restrictions. 

Its “Guide to What’s Next” highlights spring break and summer camps for children, early childhood programs, youth programs, the annual GeoFest, the Pinewood Derby and adult programs. 

“We’re hearing from families that attended our winter break camps how nice it is to have that opportunity for the kids to actually be amongst other children and be able to have fun and be able to do those hands-on activities and be able to play again,” said vice president of programs and education engagement Bethany Thomas. 

Those winter camps were offered for four days with limited capacity. There was also the option to pick up a “camp in the box” for those who didn’t feel comfortable leaving the house. 

The upcoming early childhood programs include arts and crafts like Messy Mondays on Feb. 15 and March 22 and 29, Family Literacy Day on March 6, and many more intended to be opportunities for families to safely get out of the house. Children can learn what it takes to become an astronaut on Feb. 2 or an archaeologist on March 2 through the youth programs at the museum.

Registration is now open for spring break camps in late March and early April. The camps are for children in kindergarten through sixth grade who will get to visit parks, make slime, create art and learn about animals in Indiana. 

The Pinewood Derby is going to look different this year. The derby is for boy scouts who engineer a little car to race on the two-story track inside the museum. Instead of the cars being raced against each other, each car will receive a certificate for its best times. 

For the adults, there will be Black history gallery tours at the museum 11 a.m. to noon Feb. 5, 6 and 12 as well as 92 county walking tours 11 a.m. to noon April 22 and 23—and a lot more.

There are also 11 historic sites across Indiana to visit, such as T.C. Steele State Historic Site in Nashville and Angel Mounds in Evansville. 

“A lot of our sites have beautiful grounds and outdoor spaces, and they’re doing outdoor programming,” Thomas said. 

According to TIME magazine, going outside includes benefits like reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and improving mental health. 

Attendance has been lower than normal after having to close and enforce new rules due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the museum hopes more people visit as more opportunities for outdoor programs come available. 

“We’ve solidified our safety precautions and protocols. We have limited capacity. We have really adapted all of our programs again to be able to make sure we can bring those back safely,” Thomas said. 

Alexa Shrake is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.   Photo by Momoneymoproblemz under Wikimedia Creative Commons license.

TheStatehouseFile.com is a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.