Tour Manager, Indiana War Memorial
1. Why is there scaffolding around the Indiana War Memorial?
The scaffolding currently seen around the exterior of the building is there as part of a project to repair the roof of the Memorial. These repairs are to address some leaks and replace broken stones that one would expect to find on any 85+ year old structure that has had to deal with Indiana’s weather “mood swings.”
2. As folks tour the Indiana War Memorial on their own or during the March 9th Indiana Landmark’s “Behind the Scaffolding Tour,” what would you like for them to remember about the Memorial?
The Indiana War Memorial (as well as the Indiana War Memorial Plaza) is just as the name indicates, a memorial. When you are on the plaza grounds you are walking on an area that, in 1920, was dedicated to the over 135,000 Hoosiers who served during World War I, and the more than 3,000 Hoosiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in The Great War.
3. What is your favorite “hidden treasure” of the Indiana War Memorial?
Besides Cricket (long-time volunteer Docent at the IWM)? Honestly, the Indiana War Memorial and museum has far too many “hidden treasures” to choose from. There is always something that you haven’t noticed before or a new detail of something you thought you knew everything about. One of the things I always point out to visitors is the stone from Château-Thierry in our World War I exhibit space. People often pass right by it without knowing exactly what it is. Not only was it a piece of a bridge that was blown up during the Battle of Château-Thierry, it was also dedicated as a ceremonial cornerstone for the American Legion National Headquarters by Marshal Ferdinand Foch in 1921 (the building’s design would not be selected until 1923).
4. As you lead tours through the Memorial, what is the one question or comment you receive the most? How do you answer that question?
The number one question I receive is probably how are the blue lights on the ceiling of the Shrine Room changed when they burn out. Easy answer: the lights can be accessed via utility spaces above the Shrine Room.
5. What word would use to describe the Indiana War Memorial?
The usual answer to this is something along the lines of “magnificent” or “stunning” or “enormous”, but I would say “unexpected”. Almost everyone who visits for the first time is completely taken off guard by the interior of the Indiana War Memorial. Whether it be not knowing what they are about to experience in the Shrine Room, or being surprised at the size and scope of our museum, visitors always comment on how they wished they had planned more time to see everything.
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