|PRESERVING HISTORY |
The original Tea Room opened in 1905 on the 5th floor of the L.S. Ayres department store at the corner of Washington and Meridian Streets. It was so popular that in 1929 it was moved to the 8th floor and was expanded in size. For 85 years, it was the place to take children (dressed in their best, including hats and gloves) to learn proper manners, for families to gather in celebration of special events, and for women to see the current fashions as shown in “That Ayres Look” style shows. It became very dear to the community, but at a low point in the vitality of downtown, the May Company closed it in 1990.
CELEBRATING THE HOLIDAYS
After several years of sold-out crowds at special holiday-only Tea Room lunches in the Indiana State Museum’s old building, public interest resulted in the museum adding a recreation of the Tea Room to its plans for its new building in May 2002.
The L.S. Ayres Tea Room™ is inspired by the original Tea Room located in the L.S. Ayres department store at the corner of Washington and Meridian Streets prior to its closing in 1990. Though smaller (64 seats instead of nearly 400), the Tea Room at the Indiana State Museum features reproductions of originals including columns, window treatments, wallpaper, carpet and chandeliers – and even the treasure chest. Tea Room favorites are created from authentic recipes and staff display the same proper etiquette offered at the original Tea Room.
Our visit to the Indiana State Museum will start in the L.S. Ayres Tea Room were we will enjoy a three course lunch buffet. Our afternoon will be spent exploring the Indiana State Museum.
The Indiana State Museum is Indiana’s museum for science, art, and culture, offering a place where you can celebrate, investigate, remember, learn, and take pride in Indiana’s story in the context of a global society! Even the building is a showcase of the best Indiana has to offer in architecture, materials, and sculpture. Visit the free 92 County Walk, a one-of-a-kind art experience that features Indiana’s 92 counties with original sculptures incorporated into the building’s facade, sidewalks, and stair railings.
Not every museum features mastodons and a Foucault pendulum, but those experiences are all part of the Indiana story and inside the museum.
With exhibits covering the Ice Age to the 21st century and beyond, the museum is an eclectic, exciting adventure into the past, present, and future of Indiana. With frequent rotations of artifacts from the collection and ever-changing special exhibits, the museum offers different experiences every time you visit.