Top Museums in Bloomington, Indiana

Bloomington Museum
Bloomington Museum | © Jeff Hart / Flickr

Indiana has some of the best museums in the country, many of which can be found within Bloomington, Indiana. This quaint college town offers a variety of different museums for history buffs, art lovers, and tourists to explore and discover. From world-class attractions to tiny, niche galleries, here are the top museums to visit in Bloomington.

Eskenazi Museum of Art

Art Gallery
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Eskenazi Museum of Art
Eskenazi Museum of Art | Eskenazi Museum of Art

Originally known as the Indiana University of Art, this art museum is located on campus and is one of the best spots for exploring local, national, and international artwork. This huge museum houses over three floors of artwork with a total of 45,000 objects to view. The museum has both permanent and rotating exhibits, and is always offering something fun for adults and kids to explore. Though the museum is currently closed for renovations, art tours around the IU campus can be taken in the meantime.

Elizabeth Sage Historic Costume Collection

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Fashion lovers will delight in this historic costume museum located within the Sage Collection at Indiana University. Here, visitors will find over 19,000 fashion pieces, from women’s, men’s, and children’s items to accessories and fashion publications. A walk through this museum will offer a glimpse through the fashion of the ages, from hats and jewelry to couture dresses and shoes.

Mathers Museum of World Cultures

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Mathers Museum | © Jason Baird Jackson / Flickr
Mathers Museum | Mathers Museum

This cultural museum is also a prestigious research center for IU Bloomington students. It was officially recognized as a museum in 1971 and provides training for IU students and faculty, as well as elementary and secondary school teachers. The museum currently houses over 30,000 objects and 10,000 photographs depicting various cultures around the world. Items range from musical instruments to textiles and jewelry to sacred artifacts. Current revolving exhibits can be found here.

Grunwald Gallery of Art

Art Gallery, Museum
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This contemporary art museum is nestled within the IU Bloomington campus and is a must-visit for any art lover. Here, visitors will find artwork created by both professional artists and IU students. Mediums found here include paintings, photography, drawings, sculptures, and interactive works of art. This exhibit is free of charge for IU students and the general public.

WonderLab

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WonderLab Bearded Dragon
WonderLab Bearded Dragon | WonderLab Bearded Dragon

WonderLab is a museum of science, health, and technology, located along the B-Line Trail in downtown Bloomington. This creative science museum is geared towards children, offering exhibits that provide opportunities to witness the excitement and overall wonder science and technology can bring. Curious exhibits include the Bubble-Airium, Fitzgerald Hall of Natural Science, Discover Garden, How Things Work exhibit, WonderGarden, and Coral Reef Aquarium.

Monroe County History Center

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This history museum contains nuggets of Bloomington’s past going back centuries. The various exhibits allow visitors to experience what Monroe County was like during different time periods, for different cultures of Hoosiers. In addition to permanent and rotating gallery exhibits, this history center also offers a fascinating local history and genealogy research center and a popular museum gift shop.

Wylie House Museum

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Wylie House Museum | © HornColumbia / Wikimedia
Wylie House Museum | Wylie House Museum

This historic museum offers guided tours run by the Indiana University Libraries. Built in 1835 by Andrew Wylie, Indiana University’s first president, this home remains a living museum, paying tribute to this historic figure. The inside of the home will bring guests back in time to the 1840s, offering a glimpse into the city’s past. The heirloom gardens on the museum grounds are used for seed-saving programs conducted by the university.