Top 6 Museums in Valparaiso, Indiana

Top 6 Museums in Valparaiso, Indiana

Brauer Museum of Art In Indiana

 Image via Flickr by Reg Natarajan | Licensed by CC BY 2.0

If you’re interested in learning about the past and experiencing the arts and culture of the Midwest, the cozy university town of Valparaiso, Indiana, and its surrounding area have no shortage of great museums to visit. From an art museum featuring a variety of impressive works from the last three centuries to a museum showcasing the region’s impressive history and people, you’ll find more than just one unique exhibit to remember. At Golden Tech, we’ve put together a list of museums worth checking out in Valparaiso.

Brauer Museum of Art

 

For art fans, the Brauer Museum of Art at Valparaiso University features a large collection of works from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. The museum houses a number of impressive works from acclaimed artists such as Andy Warhol, Karl Anderson, Georgia O’Keeffe, Elaine de Kooning, Frederic Edwin Church, Alfred Stieglitz, and Richard Hunt, among others. Brauer is also known for containing the largest collection of works by Junius R. Sloan, a self-taught Midwestern artist famous for his landscape paintings depicting life on the Illinois prairie in the mid-19th century.

Along with the artwork, the museum hosts a variety of special events and exhibitions throughout the year, both in-person and virtual. All events are free and open to the public. For more information on specific events, be sure to visit their website for a full schedule of exhibitions and events.

Porter County Museum

Located inside the former Porter County Jail & Sheriff’s Residence just southeast of the Porter County Courthouse, the Porter County Museum is a quaint but lively little museum dedicated to engaging in the area’s rich past. Exhibits and programs feature artifacts from the community’s past and present, comprising donated paintings, letters, furniture, and a number of other possessions. The museum uses rotating exhibits to highlight different areas of the collection, ensuring that nothing gets old and stale.

Opened in 2021, the Montague/Urschel Gallery features Indiana’s unique historical art and currently depicts the journey of a well-known architectural firm from its humble beginnings in Valparaiso. You won’t want to miss the museum’s many annual events, including kid-friendly scavenger hunts and self-guided tours. To find more information on upcoming events, check out the events page on their website.

Westchester Township History Museum

Just 10 miles away from Valparaiso is the Westchester Township History Museum of Chesterton, Indiana. Located inside the historic 1885 Brown Mansion, the museum highlights local history from prehistoric times to the modern era. The Les and Mary Pratt Local History Archives are great for exploring local people, places, and businesses in the region and feature real maps, phone books, and newspapers from history. To see papers and artifacts collected through 2005, including hundreds of photographs, you can check out the Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary Archive. The Chesterton Tribune Photo Archive features historic photographs published in the paper.

In addition to archives, the museum offers free research services and professional help with your genealogical research, if you want to find out more about your own family’s history. After perusing the museum’s vast collection of artifacts and photographs, you can visit the museum store, where you’ll find over 100 gifts, including many created by local artists. Don’t forget to check out the museum’s list of monthly programs, which can be found on the Westchester Library’s calendar.

Great Lakes Museum of Military History

Located in Michigan City, Indiana, the Great Lakes Museum of Military History is the perfect place to learn about military history and discover a variety of military memorabilia from the Revolutionary War period up to the present day. The museum’s collection contains over 5,000 pieces documenting United States military history, including uniforms, firearms, weapons, medals, posters, and more. Their reference library and archive are great for military researchers and anyone who wants to learn more about military history in the Great Lakes region.

La Porte County Historical Society Museum

The La Porte County Historical Society Museum sits in La Porte, Indiana, and contains everything from vintage automobiles to 14 “period rooms” depicting life in different time periods. Downstairs, the museum features the W. A Jones Collection of Ancient Weapons, an impressive array of nearly 850 different ancient weapons, in addition to a variety of military uniforms dating back to the Civil War. The Kesling Auto Collection is also a museum favorite, featuring over 30 vintage automobiles, including cars built in Indiana, such as the recreated 1929 Auburn Cabin Speedster.

The museum also features a variety of exhibits that change with the seasons and a display of sports equipment that ranges from the late19th century into the 20th, including roller skates made from wood and leather football helmets. If you’re a professional sports fan, you’ll especially want to check out the autographed show of Ron Reed, who grew up in the area and played in the NBA from 1965 to 1967 and was a Major League pitcher from 1966 through 1983.

Old Lighthouse Museum

Packed with Great Lakes history, the Old Lighthouse Museum on the harbor of Michigan City, Indiana is perfect if you want to check out a decommissioned lighthouse with a long and fascinating history. Take a trip up the long stairs to get to the lighthouse tower, which once served as a beacon for Great Lakes sailors for over 100 years. The exhibit featuring Lake Michigan shipwrecks is another interesting display to check out, including a collection of picture postcards remembering the Eastland Disaster, one of the region’s worst shipwrecks in history.

After learning about local maritime history, you can visit the museum’s gift shop, full of unique items, including books, postcards, souvenirs, and lighthouse figurines. Be sure to check out their events page for upcoming events and gatherings. If you’re planning a longer trip, keep in mind that Old Lighthouse Museum currently has no onsite bathroom facilities.

There’s nothing like visiting a museum on a rainy day. While Indiana isn’t the largest state in the country, it’s got plenty of cool museums chock full of history just waiting for you to visit. See something we missed? Let us know by getting in touch with us today. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

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