Although Indiana may not be generally thought of as an athletic powerhouse on the national scene, it’s undeniable that the state has a very strong sports heritage. Hoosier basketball is legendary, the Indianapolis 500 is hailed as the greatest spectacle in racing, and the Indianapolis Colts have spent most of the last decade as one of the NFL’s marquee franchises. Add in Indianapolis’ growing reputation as a hotbed for all sorts of amateur athletics, and its not surprising that Hoosiers take pride in their sports accomplishments. In fact, Indiana is home to many museums dedicated to various aspects of the sporting world. Here are some of the very best to visit when traveling through the Hoosier state.
The National Art Museum of Sport – IUPUI Campus
Featuring one of the nation’s largest collections of sports art, The National Art Museum of Sport is located on the campus of IUPUI in Indianapolis. The museum is open from 8 am to 5 pm ET on weekdays, and admission is free.
NCAA Hall of Champions – Indianapolis
As part of the NCAA’s headquarters in downtown Indy, the NCAA Hall of Champions features interactive exhibits detailing the history and mission of the NCAA. From Heisman winners to champion pole vaulters, collegiate athletes of all ilk are represented in sculpture, paintings, and other media. Hours are 10 am to 5 pm ET Tuesday through Saturday and Noon to 5 pm ET on Sunday. Admission prices are $5 or less per person.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum – Speedway
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum is generally acknowledged as the most complete and grandiose archive of racing memorabilia in the world. While the material understandably leans heavily toward the Indy 500, all aspects of the racing game are well represented. Located adjacent to the Speedway track itself, the museum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm ET March through October and 9 am to 4 pm ET November through February. Admission is $5 or less per person.
Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame – New Castle
Located about halfway between Indianapolis and the Ohio border, the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame celebrates all of the glorious intricacies of Hoosier basketball, from Milan High School to John Wooden to the Indiana Pacers. The quintessential Indiana sports museum, the Hall of Fame is open Monday through Saturday 10 am to 5 pm ET and Sunday 1 pm to 5 pm ET. Admission is $5 or less per person.
Indiana Football Hall of Fame – Richmond
On Friday nights and Sunday afternoons in the fall, Indiana is transformed from its hoops roots into football country. The Indiana Football Hall of Fame attempts to capture this obsession and honor the Hoosier men and women who have left their marks on the gridiron at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. The museum is open from 11 am to 5 pm ET Tuesday through Friday and from Noon to 4 pm ET on Saturday. Be sure to check their web site for more details in planning your trip.
Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame – Jasper
While baseball may take a back seat to football and basketball in Indiana, Hoosiers have left their mark on all levels of organized baseball, and the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame commemorates these achievements. Located on the campus of Vincennes University in Jasper, IN, the museum is open Thursday through Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm ET. Admission costs $4 or less per person.
Each of these museums portrays Indiana’s contributions to their respective sports and gives visitors an insight into Hoosiers’ affinity for athletics in general. They are all must-see attactions for any serious sports fan living in or passing through Indiana.