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“Wonderful Collection of Art, Furniture and Architecture - Guided Tours by Owners”

Haan Museum of Indiana Art
Ranked #2 of 16 things to do in Lafayette
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: What makes a tour of the Haan Museum so memorable? The Classical Revival mansion was the Connecticut Building at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Many parts are from a 1760 Connecticut mansion. The Museum shows the best collection of paintings by Indiana's most notable historic artists, including major works by TC Steele, paintings of Native Americans by George Winter, Regionalist paintings. Spectacular paintings of Indians by Cowboy artist Martin Grelle line the double staircase. See major ceramics (like a swivel chair) by Indiana clay artists, and impressive American antiques, music boxes and clocks in a home-like setting. See website for special exhibits and tour schedule. Sculpture garden features over 25 Indiana sculptures along a wheelchair-accessible path. Nature trail winds through native Indiana trees marked with informational signs, and is is open dawn to dusk daily. Moderately challenging 1-mile trail crosses a ravine via bridges. Guests often report seeing several deer.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Activities for older children, Stairs / lift, Activities for young children
Reviewed September 16, 2018

My daughter and I visited the Haan Mansion Museum of Indiana Art last weekend; I’d been wanting to check out this local gem for some time since the facility is only open during a few afternoons during the week. Wikipedia claims the Haan Museum houses the largest collection of Indiana art in the world. The massive home sites on several acres in the center of one of Lafayette historic neighborhoods just off South Ninth Street. Parking is available onsite, but you may park on State Street without much problem.

We presumed we would just browse the place ourselves, but after we signed in (at $10 a piece) we received a guided tour by Mrs. Haan herself – the woman is a walking wealth of information on all their exhibits and belongings, as well as the history of the building itself. (A little side note: I’m sure you already know the home was originally built for the 1904 World Fair in Saint Louis and is one of its few surviving structures, brought here to Lafayette in pieces by rail from the Fair. The fact that it survived the move, reconstruction and subsequent decades of decline here is amazing.)

I’m no art expert, but please note that if you are a fan of T.C. Steele, Adams, or other Hoosier Group/Brown County Art Colony artists, this faculty’s Indiana art will not disappoint – and after visiting and reviewing the Brown County Art Museum may be saying something. The period-specific, exquisitely crafted antique furniture and quirky surprises such as the Swiss-made music box (that’s as large as a foot locker) or it’s stamped tin disc-playing, ‘pre-stereo’ standup companion (that’s as large as a grandfather clock – which they have also), are all worth the price of admission. The pieces are huge but in scale with the massive rooms, staircase and open second floor railing.

Outside, the sculpture garden with nature trail has many interesting exhibits as well, though if they could invest in terraces with level gardens and more plantings it would make the site more accessible and useful. Several plaques with botanical information are posted under the mature trees. The mountain bike trail that meander through adjacent ravine properties are also owned and constructed by the Haans.

Please take the hour or two to tour this unique, well-maintained and posh repository of Indiana history. Obviously, this place has delicate displays and is probably not the excursion to bring children along. Their website posts special event throughout the year. I would attach pictures of specific pieces, but that’s not allowed. Of course, speaking of Southern Indiana artists, their collection can’t be perfect until they get a good John Mellencamp painting LOL!

Date of experience: September 2018
Thank Eric F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ellie H, Founding Board member at Haan Museum of Indiana Art, responded to this reviewResponded September 23, 2018

Thank you, Eric. We're so glad you shared your experience. I would like to clarify that the art collection, while quite large, is not the biggest - it's the best works by Indiana's most important artists. That includes not just paintings, but decorative ceramics as well. The fun part of the ceramics was getting to know the artists.

The music boxes are always among guests' favorites, along with the massive clocks and beds. We've just purchased a few more interesting pieces of furniture that should be delivered before Thanksgiving. It's difficult to find pieces that truly add to the collection, but we continue to look. At this point they tend to be accent pieces, such as clocks and a very unique sewing machine. Our collection of books by Indiana authors and sheet music by Indiana composers is growing.

We don't allow children under four inside the Museum, except for Christmas time. There are a lot of engaging things for kids during Christmas tours, so that's a great time to bring the family. Little kids love the trains, gingerbread house, sleigh, and many stuffed animal that sing and dance. Kids are always welcome in the sculpture garden. By the way, the garden is a work in process. It was installed in the fall of 2016, and volunteers created and maintain the landscaping. It will continue to get better. The path was designed to be wheelchair-accessible, with berms to control the flow of rainwater and minimize erosion of the path.

We'd love to get a nice Mellencamp painting, but they're hard to come by. We saw one at an auction, but we didn't think that it was one of his better works, and we never buy paintings just because of the artist's name. We'll keep looking!

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Reviewed September 11, 2018

The Haan museum contains the finest collection of TC Steele and friends' paintings I have seen outside of the TC Steele home in southern Indiana. The Haans are devoted to Indiana art and provide a unique museum experience. Thank you for this resource in Tippecanoe County!

Date of experience: September 2018
Thank Julianne S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ellie H, Founding Board member at Haan Museum of Indiana Art, responded to this reviewResponded September 13, 2018

You're welcome, Julianne. I hope you'll visit again soon. Christmas is a great time to visit!

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Reviewed September 5, 2018

We were looking for something to do in Lafayette and found this mansion museum. It was filled with the work of Indiana artists, which include some very famous works that you can't see anywhere else. Lots of pottery as well. The tour is very interesting, the house is just beautiful, the grounds are very nice. It is very worth spending the time to see.

Date of experience: September 2018
Thank 365Kate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ellie H, Founding Board member at Haan Museum of Indiana Art, responded to this reviewResponded September 13, 2018

Thank you, Kate. We're still amazed at the paintings and ceramics.that were produced in Indiana. I'm glad that you were here on a day that you could enjoy the sculpture garden.

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Reviewed August 3, 2018 via mobile

This was my second visit to the mansion and I saw so many pieces that I hadn't seen last time I was here. I truly think you could go everyday for a month and still find something new. A wonderful gym in Lafayette not-to-be-missed.

Date of experience: July 2018
1  Thank 22dianar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ellie H, Founding Board member at Haan Museum of Indiana Art, responded to this reviewResponded August 6, 2018

Thank you, Diana! I hope you'll come again soon. You're right - there is so much to see that you can't grasp it in one trip. Some people just look and the paintings, some prefer the ceramics, some concentrate on the furniture, and others are more interested in the architecture. Most people want to know a little about everything.

The new special exhibition has twenty-five historic paintings depicting activities that were common at the turn of the century, such as farming and circuses. Visitors are invited to "Step into the Painting", and place themselves in the setting. There are photos next to each painting, showing kids re-creating the scene. Schools can use the exhibition as part of their Indiana History curriculum.

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Reviewed August 2, 2018

We were in town for the day and a dear friend recommended the museum at the last minute. We were having lunch down the street and decided to check it out. What a wonderful surprise! From the beautiful pieces of art, paintings, one of a kind pieces of furniture and sculptures, I think everyone will find something that catches their fancy. The museum is a labor of love and pride of Indiana and her artists. Ellie was a delight and it was a treat to have her share the stories of her home and adventures of her priceless and beautiful treasures. The house, museum and gardens do not disappoint.

Date of experience: August 2018
1  Thank tharvie1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ellie H, Founding Board member at Haan Museum of Indiana Art, responded to this reviewResponded August 6, 2018

Thank you! We continue to be impressed by the beautiful paintings and ceramics created here in Indiana. They are among the best in the country. The music box still amazes me every time I see it in action and think about someone making it in 1880 without the use of a computer (for those of you who haven't visited, every roll plays six songs and five instruments - and it was custom-made with twelve rolls of songs chosen by the buyer).

I think you'd enjoy our "Celebrate Indiana!" festival if you're in the area on September 1. We're having jazz by Hoagy Carmichael and Cole Porter, poetry by James Whitcomb Riley and other Hoosier icons, two ten-minute plays, hands-on arts and nature activities, a public art project and more. It should be a fun day!

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