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Signature Museums of the Heartland

Some museums are so famous and compelling that they become cornerstones of the cities in which they reside.

Throughout America’s heartland, travelers will find numerous museums that are among the best — and most inventive — in the country. With signature exhibits, unmistakable architecture and first-rate programming, these institutions have made themselves must-see attractions in their respective destinations.

Groups won’t want to miss these five museums that are iconic attractions in their cities.

Detroit Institute of Arts


The Detroit Institute of Arts, located in Midtown Detroit, features a collection of over 60,000 pieces of artwork, making it one of the largest collections in the United States.

Groups will enjoy taking a multimedia tour of the Rivera Court, available at the information desk or as a free download from the iTunes store. This exhibit is considered to be the best example of Mexican mural art in the United States. The artist who created the murals believed that all art belongs to the public, and his work depicts the roots of the city and its ties to industry, manufacturing and technology.

Two special exhibits currently on display are “Detroit After Dark” and “Bitter/Sweet: Coffee, Tea and Chocolate.” “Detroit after Dark” is a compilation of multiple photographers and features nighttime photographs of architecture. It opens October 21 and will run through April 2017. “Bitter/Sweet” shares the history of the fashionable drinks: coffee, tea and hot chocolate, as well as how their introduction affected European society and Colonial expansion. The exhibit opens November 20 and will run through March 5, 2017.


Indianapolis Museum of Art


Founded in 1883, the Indianapolis Museum of Art is one of the oldest museums in the United States, but it by no means feels outdated. The museum collection includes over 54,000 pieces that range from 5,000 years old to contemporary artwork, much of which tests the boundaries of modern art.

Groups can choose from multiple tours, such as a guided tour of the Lily House and Oldfields Gardens or a customizable tour centered on a theme that can be tailored to their interests. The Lily House is the 1930s mansion that once belonged to the famous philanthropist and collector J.K. Lilly Jr., and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Other tour options include an in-depth look at a specific gallery or special exhibit at the museum.

The upcoming “Chemistry of Color” exhibit will explore the connections between science and art and will open December 17 and run through then end of 2017. Fall 2017 will bring the traveling exhibit “Cutting-Edge Fashion,” featuring 60 examples of envelope-pushing fashion and contemporary trends ranging from the 1950s through the early 2000s.