Knowledge for All

            EXHIBITS

Our two towns' histories date back to the 1840's... and what histories they are!  It all started with pungent, mineral-laden water.  Buffalo, plush resorts, illegal gambling, circus headquarters, world-class artists, and a pretty darn good basketball player are part of our colorful past.

 
Casino Exhibit

Casino Exhibit

Gorge Inn

Gorge Inn

Brown Hotel

Brown Hotel

Elite Cafe

Elite Cafe

CASINO EXHIBIT

We were Vegas before there was a Vegas… despite the fact that gambling in Indiana was illegal. 

The Springs Valley boasted several documented casinos from the 1860's until 1949 when the state stopped looking the other way. 

You’ll see relics from those old casinos and learn about some of the characters who ran them.

Cross Exhibit

Cross Exhibit

Cross Brothers

Cross Brothers

Cross Cave

Cross Cave

Cross Cave

Cross Cave

Cross Cave

Cross Cave

CROSS EXHIBIT

Local artists Henry and  Ferdinand Cross made and sold their work out of a place known as Cross Cave. Henry was a painter and Ferdinand was a stone carver.
The Cross Brothers moved to southern Indiana in the mid-1800's and would gain national acclaim.  We have a display of Henry’s magnificent paintings and Ferdinand's spectacular Cross columns and fireplace; vivid examples of what Ferdinand could do with a chunk of raw limestone, working in a cave.

Circus Diorama

Circus Diorama

Circus Diorama

Circus Diorama

Circus Diorama

Circus Diorama

Circus Diorama

Circus Diorama

Circus Diorama

Circus Diorama

Circus Diorama

Circus Diorama

WORLDS LARGEST CIRCUS DIORAMA

Just catch your breath and say, “Oh my…!” as you enter this exhibit. 

It goes on and on and on, seemingly forever. 


This scale model exhibit, painstakingly crafted by Peter Gorman over several years, depicts the Hagenbeck-Wallace circus in incredible detail from the moment the train rolls into town, parades through the village, and right on into the show under the big top. 


There are well over 150,000 pieces. It took our museum team three months just to set it up. You are welcome to stay and admire it as long as you want. There’s a lot to see.

Pluto Will

Pluto Will

Pluto Spring

Pluto Spring

Pluto Pavillion

Pluto Pavillion

Pluto Statue

Pluto Statue

PLUTO WATER

The mythical god of the underworld became the symbol of the French Lick Springs Hotel’s mineral water. Owner Tom Taggart bottled the water and sold it nationwide for many years. The image of Pluto was used on everything from menus, postcards, and soaps for guest rooms to cufflinks, clocks, and toy trains. The museum currently has the original, full-sized Pluto figures.  (Get that selfie camera ready and pose with Pluto.)


Larry Bird

Larry Bird

Larry Bird

Larry Bird

Larry Bird

Larry Bird

Larry Bird Exhibit

Larry Bird Exhibit

LARRY BIRD

One of the greatest to play the game and he's a home town boy.  Larry Bird, "The Hick From French Lick", starred at Indiana State University before joining the NBA's Boston Celtics in 1979. Over the course of his 13-year Hall of Fame career, the sharpshooting forward led the Celtics to three NBA titles and claimed three MVP awards. Visit us and discover how he got started.

French Lick Hotel

French Lick Hotel

West Baden Springs Hotel

West Baden Springs Hotel

Bicycle Track

Bicycle Track

French Lick Hotel

French Lick Hotel

West Baden Hotel

West Baden Hotel

OUR GRAND HOTELS

The French Lick and West Baden Springs Hotels date back to the 1840’s. William Bowles and John Lane had big dreams and grand plans, all revolving around the mineral-rich springs.  The West Baden dome, built in 1902,  was once called the 8th Wonder of the world. Learn their stories, complete with rare artifacts, and how they evolved with just one mile between them.

                   Name an Exhibit

The museum has a few select opportunities to sponsor an exhibit for $5000 (includes benefactor membership and a plaque). What a great way to recognize your business, family, or a loved one! Call the museum for more details.

 

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812-936-FLWB (3592)

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Pluto Will