Athenaeum Tour

Sound Thinking

Explore the evolution of an Indianapolis landmark from a German clubhouse to a hub of modern urban life on monthly guided tours with Indiana Landmarks and the Athenaeum Foundation.

Photo by Chris Bucher

See a German-American Landmark on our Athenaeum Tour

NOTE: Tours of the Athenaeum have resumed on a limited basis. Be sure to read details below before purchasing tickets.

The Athenaeum, built in 1894 and 1898 as Das Deutsche Haus, remains true to the “sound mind in a sound body” ethos of its freethinker German founders. Author Kurt Vonnegut’s architect grandfather’s firm Vonnegut & Bohn designed the German gymnasium and clubhouse, which the author declared his favorite of all of his ancestor’s works. Anxious to preserve their culture, and accustomed to clubs, German-Americans created societies for music, recreation and social activity, political and philosophical discussion, theater, exercise, and more.

In partnership with the Athenaeum Foundation, Indiana Landmarks offers guided tours of the National Historic Landmark on the second Saturday of the month, May through October.

On the 60-minute guided tour of the Athenaeum, tourgoers will:

  • Learn about the Athenaeum’s unique German-inspired architectural features.
  • Explore the evolution of the building from a German clubhouse to a hub of modern urban life, with a theater, YMCA, and the Rathskeller, a restaurant/pub in continuous operation since the landmark’s earliest days.
  • Discover how the Athenaeum was saved when it faced an uncertain future and restored, still fulfilling the role of clubhouse for cultural development and physical health.
  • See spaces usually inaccessible to the public, including rooms overlooking the Biergarten and gym, and the theater’s stage. Please note these spaces are subject to room availability and all spaces may not be available depending on building programming.

Tour Schedule

NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, availability of tours is limited and subject to change, pending safety directives and health concerns. We apologize for any inconvenience!

We offer Athenaeum tours on select Saturdays, May through October, departing at noon. In 2020, tours will be offered: September 12 and October 10.

Tours last approximately one hour and depart from the vestibule inside the Coat Check Coffee entrance to the Athenaeum, 401 East Michigan Street, Indianapolis.

Parking: Park at meters on the surrounding streets.

Tickets Must be purchased in advance

The tour costs $10 per person age 12 and up; $8 per member of Indiana Landmarks; $5 per child (age 6-11); and is free for children ages 5 and under.

Tickets must be purchased in advance, using the online form below, at athenaeumtour2020.eventbrite.com, or by calling Indiana Landmarks, 317-639-4534 or reservations@indianalandmarks.org.

Refund requests must be received seven days in advance of tour date. If tickets are purchased through Eventbrite, you will receive a partial refund as Eventbrite no longer refunds their processing and service fees.

 

COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS

Walk-ups without reservations will not be accommodated, and the number of tickets available per time slot will be limited to allow for appropriate social distancing between individuals who have not isolated together.

All tour participants must wear a face covering over their mouth and nose at all times during a tour. If tourgoers feel ill or suspect they may be experiencing symptoms of a COVID-19 infection, we ask that they not attend a scheduled tour; Indiana Landmarks will refund your reservation or exchange the ticket for a later date.

Please address any questions to tourism@indianalandmarks.org or 317-639-4534.