Indianapolis News and HeadlinesBlack History Month


Indiana State Museum provides Black History Gallery tours

Black History Tour Indiana State Museum
Posted at 12:15 PM, Feb 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 13:28:42-05

INDIANAPOLIS — There are countless artifacts on display at the Indiana State Museum and curators work tirelessly to gather and share them with you.

For Black History Month, WRTV is going behind the scenes of the Black History Gallery Tour, which brings you on a journey beyond the labels for the artifacts.

Indiana State Museum Curator Kisha Tandy said she knows the stories behind these artifacts like the back of her hand.

She’s worked at the museum for about twenty years.

“I have tried, and there is so much more to do,” said Tandy.

Tandy often gets to go to people's homes to collect the priceless pieces of history.

She and other staff members give tours while sharing their personal stories behind the artifacts.

Tandy helped collect a booklet that shows the image of Madam C.J. Walker. Walker is recorded as the first female self-made millionaire in America. She’s well known for her hair products and for starting her beauty school in Indianapolis.

“We talk about Madam Walker, and her being a successful entrepreneur, but so much of what she did goes beyond her business," Tandy said.

Museum employees like Tandy provide context, perspective and conversation that helps customers connect to the legacy of Black Hoosiers like Madam Walker.

“That sense of community and connection and being able to help others and to be able to provide for others is something that is really strong here,” said Tandy.

It’s a focus on community that takes people to see the permanent collection in the Cross-roads Gallery. This tour covers a variety of time periods and subjects from real estate to the Black soldiers in the civil war.

“Going beyond the label is just really being able to tell that kind of research story about how we’re able to find images and information about Black soldiers," Tandy said.

It also covers topics ranging from the Crispus Attucks 1955 state championship game to a specialty record shop in Richmond.

Tandy said artifacts like an old record store sign “take us outside of Indianapolis" with an emphasis on the women who ran the business.

It’s a diverse history that’s leaving a legacy through the storytellers like Tandy, who are proud to share the importance of going beyond the artifacts of historic Black Hoosiers during Black History Month.

MORE: 2022 Black History Month events in Indianapolis, central Indiana

Tandy said she hopes that people leave feeling motivated to research more about the Hoosiers featured in the museum.

Tours are scheduled for February 11, 25 and 26, from 11 a.m. to noon.

Tickets cost $8 for non members and are discounted for members.