The year 2016 promises to be full of activity and celebration as Indiana residents mark their 200th anniversary as a state throughout the year with special events like a torch relay, special museum exhibits, festivals and more culminating in events celebrating the actual anniversary of the event on December 11, 2016.
Here are a few of the state's bicentennial projects that sound interesting and places to go online for more information about bicentennial events.
Indiana's Bicentennial Torch Relay is one on the celebration's signature events and planned to promote unity among the state's diverse population.
A group of volunteer torch bearers nominated by fellow residents plan to cover a 2,300-plus-mile route throughout the State's 92 counties over a six-week period and averaging 60 miles per day with stops along the way for local festivities and bicentennial observances.
The relay starts on September 9, 2016 in Corydon, the site of Indiana's First State Capital.
Bearers will convey the torch, designed by staff and students at the Purdue College of Engineering, via horseback, wheelchair, canoe and combine, as well as by walkers and runners, to the end of the route at the current State Capitol building in Indianapolis on October 15, 2016.
The culmination of the relay celebration will be the lighting of an Everlasting Light at the statehouse campus to symbolize the legacy of Indiana's first 200 years as a state and a hopeful look forward to the state's next 200 years.
Where it all Began
True history buffs will want to check out the story of Indiana's First State Capital in Corydon and learn about the special bicentennial events in this Harrison County community.
See the state's first capital building, a square Federal style building built between 1814 and 1816, and learn about Indiana's first days as a state before Indianapolis became the state capital in 1825.
Indiana had 60,000 residents and 13 counties when Congress approved the state's application for statehood and first constitution, which, among other things, banned slavery.
President James Madison signed the Congressional resolution making Indiana the 19th state on December 11, 1816, and Indiana Delegate Jonathan Jennings became Indiana's first governor.
Bicentennial Barns of Indiana
The state's Bicentennial Committee endorses the Bicentennial Barns project as a way to especially recognize the state's agricultural history.
Barn owners and enthusiasts nominated their favorite barns to present the state as symbols of Indiana's agricultural heritage, and the committee narrowed down the list of nominees to 200 structures that best represented the state.
Check out some of the nominees on the project's Web site to see the variety of barns and architecture among the nominees. The committee required nominees built in 1950 or before, structures retaining much of their original architectural integrity and buildings serving an essential or useful purpose related to agricultural activities over its lifetime.
Look for a traveling exhibit featuring the entries and winning barns later this year at various places around the state like galleries, museum exhibits and a special showing at the Indiana State Fair in August.
Ten winning barns will display a special plaque created by Indiana artisan Dorrel Harrison.
The hope is that these barns can represent to state's heritage in coming years as well, much as many of the specially painted bicentennial barns in Ohio's 88 counties still do more than a dozen years after that state's 2003 bicentennial.
Stamp recognizes Indiana Bicentennial
Look for a U.S. postage stamp issue celebration the state's bicentennial later this year.
Michael Matti, a 25-year old Milford photographer, made an image of a sunset-kissed northern Indiana farm field near a dirt road off of State Route 15 in Kosciusko County, and the postage stamp uses the scene for a colorful tribute to the state.
Other Bicentennial Resources
Check these online listings for more bicentennial resources and come back to Midwest Guest later this month for more history at the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis.
Want to learn more? Check out Indiana at 200: A Celebration of the Hoosier State (Official Book by the Bicentennial Commission.
© Dominique King 2016 All rights reserved