Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County – Crawfordsville, Indiana - Atlas Obscura

Beginning in 1883, American multimillionaire and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie funded the construction of over 2,500 public libraries worldwide. These buildings quickly became important establishments within their communities, particularly in the Midwest. The Carnegie Library of Crawfordsville, opened in 1902, was the first to open in Indiana. It dutifully served its purpose as the city library for over a century, until being moved to its current location across the street in 2005.

Today, the building is occupied by the Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County. Crawfordsville has historically been known as “the Athens of Indiana” for its rich legacy of literary figures and for being the home of Wabash College, one of the few remaining all-male colleges in the nation.

Inside the museum, visitors can learn more about famous Crawfordsville natives like New York Times crossword creator Will Shortz, former senator and Abraham Lincoln pallbearer Henry Smith Lane, and American Civil War general and acclaimed author Lew Wallace.

Additionally, artifacts from the city’s history as a farming and manufacturing powerhouse are displayed. Crawfordsville’s central location between Indianapolis, Chicago, and Peoria created a bustling local economy, and visitors can see items like an old voting machine, a telephone switchboard, and props from the iconic sports movie Hoosiers.

The museum provides an authentic glimpse into the Midwestern history and lore.

Know Before You Go

Open Wed-Sat 10:00 to 5:00. Admission is free. Parking available in the adjacent lot or at the current library across the street.

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April 19, 2024

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