Athenaeum Tour

Sound Thinking

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

Photo by Chris Bucher

Explore a German-American Landmark on our Athenaeum Tour

NOTE: To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the number of available tickets will be limited to allow for appropriate social distancing. All tour participants must wear a face covering over their mouth and nose at all times during a tour. 

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 proudly offers guided tours of this National Historic Landmark.

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.

Please be advised that the tour includes trips up and down three sets of stairs. If you need accommodations for a more accessible route, please alert your guide prior to the tour.

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 Wednesday evenings, May through October. Tours will depart at 5:45 p.m. and 6 p.m. In 2021, evening tours will be offered:

May 19
June 16
July 21
August 18
September 22
October 20

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

Or Spend Your Sunday Afternoon with Us

In 2021, we will also offer public tours on Sunday, July 11 and Sunday, August 8. These tours will depart at 1:45 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Parking: Park at meters on the surrounding streets.

purchase Tickets 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.

Secure your spot by purchasing tickets in advance via the form below, by visiting athenaeumtour2021.eventbrite.com or by calling Indiana Landmarks, 317-639-4534 or reservations@indianalandmarks.org.

A limited number of walk-ups may be accommodated, dependent upon existing reservations.

If you seek a refund for tickets purchased through Eventbrite, you will receive a partial refund as Eventbrite no longer refunds processing and service fees.


COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the number of available tickets will be limited to allow for appropriate social distancing. 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 the reservation or exchange the tickets for a later date.

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