Museum Hours: Tues-Sat 10am-4pm    (812) 332-2517JOIN & GIVE

Permanent Galleries

The Cook Gallery





Our permanent exhibits are housed in the original 1918 Carnegie Library section of the museum building. Named after  Gayle Cook, exhibits in the Cook Gallery explore Monroe County from the time of first European settlement to the culture of today, including industrial advancement, education, and lifestyles. Sit at a desk in the 1880’s one room school, explore pioneer life in an original 1840’s cabin or immerse yourself in Bloomington and Monroe County Sports and learn about athletes from Indiana University and area high schools. Come explore the fascinating history of Monroe County.

 Henry & Cecilia Wahl Gateway

Come meet Monroe the Schmalz bear, sample local music, check out some limestone samples from around the area and get a sneak peak of the exhibits featured in the Cook Permanent Gallery.

Brown Gallery

From carriages to airplanes, the Brown Gallery features the ever-changing history of Monroe County transportation.

Rotating Galleries

Stitched with Love:

Family Quilts


Quilts have the ability to symbolize a family’s love for each other through their patterns, materials, and purpose. The variety of colors from a beloved husband and father’s ties, the flower designs stitched together with pieces of cotton fabrics or the family photos included in the designs, each quilt on display tells an intimate part of its family’s history.

February 28 to September 26

The Hill Gallery is a rotating exhibit gallery sponsored by Margaret C. Hill. New exhibits are installed every 2-3 months.

Hoosier-in-Residence: T.C. Steele’s Franklin Hall Studio

Born and raised a Hoosier, T. C. Steele brought the beauty of the Indiana landscape to a developing modern world. For the last four years of his life, T. C. and Selma Steele made Bloomington their home from fall to spring, spending the other half at the House of Singing Winds in nearby Brown County. T. C. Steele was given a studio at the top of Franklin Hall while he served as Indiana University’s first artist-in-residence. This summer the Monroe County History Center is rebuilding that Franklin Hall studio to demonstrate the impact T. C. and Selma Steele had on IU and Bloomington. This exhibition is supported by the IU Office of the Bicentennial.

Pictured here: TC Steele on the IU campus, 1926. Courtesy of IU Archives.

July 10 to November 13

The Rechter Gallery is a rotating exhibit gallery sponsored by Richard P. Rechter. New Exhibits are installed every 4-6 months.

Holiday Exhibit 2020

Still have your favorite toy? We’d love to borrow it for our upcoming holiday exhibit! This holiday season, our community is curating the exhibit and sharing their favorite memories. Feel free to send in any questions via email or call 812-332-2517.